[OPE-L:1570] Re: Money, State and Dialectics

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sun, 24 Oct 1999 07:01:56 -0400 (EDT)

Re Mike W's [OPE-L:1569]:

> 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.

And it is also true that without the state legitimizing market activity,
by establishing laws concerning private property, contracts, etc. (and
using force, or the threat of force, to enforce those laws and
establishing deterrants for violating those laws, e.g. fines,
imprisonment), then the "money" issued by private banks could not be able
to function as money. Thus, without the state the "money" printed by
private banks wouldn't be worth the paper it was printed on (since the
printing would tend to degrade the use-value of the paper). And even
under the gold standard, gold could not be able to serve as money without
the state establishing an institutional context in which exchange (and
production) can take place, e.g. laws against "theft". Thus the
state forms a systematically necessary role in the legitimation of the
categories of commodity and money.

In solidarity, Jerry

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