[OPE-L:1569] Re: Money, State and Dialectics

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sun, 24 Oct 1999 06:32:05 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Michael J Williams" <michael@williamsmj.screaming.net>
Subject: Re: [OPE-L:1565] Money, State and Dialectics
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 10:19:58 +0100

In response to Jerry, Jurriaan writes;
> Commodities and money as forms existed as forms long before the bourgeois
> state, and indeed existed before "nation-states" as such. There is imo no
> NECESSARY or LOGICAL "dialectical connection" between commodities and
> on the one hand, and the (bourgeois) state on the other, for that reason
> alone. And if we go back in history, we actually find agencies (such as
> merchant houses) issuing coins and promissory notes without any state
> control.

For an opposite view, see Reuten and Williams (1989) and several much more
recent papers by me. For now just let me insert the following comments:

1. That something like commodity and money existed before the bourgeois
state, and indeed befoe capitalism, doesn't speak to the specific nature of
the categories Commodity and Money *under capitalism*.

2. Then it is possible to argue coherently for a dialectically 'necessary'
connection between capitalist Money and the bourgeois state (this, inter
alia, is what we do in the 1989 book). The point is that the 'necessity'
referred to is *systemic*.

3. It is true that 'private' forms of Money have existed throughout history
(Scottish banks were issuing genuinely independent bank notes until quite
recently). It is also true that radical liberal intellectuals (most
famously von Hayek) have tried to argue for the 'privatisation' of modern
money - so far without either intellectual or practical effect. But it is
also true that the Sovereign has been stamping his (usually) face on the
coinage and clipping it to raise revenues for aeons too.


Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes

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