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Money has been seen as the absolute form of wealth storage in the current crisis, and that shows how human relationships of power are inseparable from money.  The falling US dollar increased in value as the crisis became publicly manifest, and that was because people sold other, less secure, forms of wealth storage -- their income producing assets -- in order to hold US dollars, which is simply a guarantee that US political authority (or EU or Japanese, etc.) will continue to reign supreme and guarantee the existing web of social relationships that currently determines who gets what in the world today.

It is not at all certain that the neo-classical narrative of money emerging "naturally" is true either. Money can emerge naturally, such as the famous cigarettes in war-torn Germany which had more value than the official inflationary currency, but the fact that more explicit, i.e. political, forms of money tend to drive out so-called natural forms, like gold or silver, from circulation show the primacy of the relational dimension over the physical. Social guarantees of wealth are superior to any presumed claims to wealth derived from merely physical characteristics of monetary specie.

I do not argue that credit is not money, but rather that credit only matters because it is another way of securing wealth, which is why money matters at all in the first place.  The more general phenomenon is wealth, not money, so that is where analysis should be focused.

by santiago on Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 at 09:30:48 AM EST
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