[OPE-L:2421] commodity money in Marx's theory

Costas Lapavitsas (CL5@soas.ac.uk)
Thu, 30 May 1996 02:29:00 -0700

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Duncan wrote [OPE-L 2409]

> I'm a little troubled by characterizing state credit moneys as
> or "pure fiat moneys", because I don't think it's quite correct. The state
> credit moneys are in fact backed by assets of the state, just as bank
> deposits are backed by assets the bank holds. These assets include the
> future taxing power of the state, and in the case of some states (like the
> U.S.) very substantial land and natural resource assets.

and further substantiated this in [2410].

I do not think that modern state credit money is a pure fiat
money, Assignats, Treasury notes etc (though surely it is valueless if
value if embodied abstract labour time?). Modern money is issued
entirely through the banking system, therefore it becomes
partially subject to the general advance and repayment of credit and
loses some of the arbitratriness of pure fiat money.

I fully agree with you that the power of the state to tax,
and the corresponding social acceptability of state IOUs backing
modern credit money, is fundamental in this respect. But would you not
agree that this power of the state is historically specific and not
ahistorical and abstract? Otherwise it would also hold for pure
fiat money. If so, we should first specify the determinants of this
power, and then see how they are connected with the advance and
repayment of credit through the credit system.