RE: Money as a dominant social relation (was: Re: [ox-en] There is no such thing like "peer money")
- From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc dcs.gla.ac.uk>
- Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 20:23:35 +0100
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Depends what you mean by money.
If you mean coinage or banknotes and all that follows, these have a clear
origin with Lydia in the west in the 8th C bc and with the spade and hoe tokens
issued by the chinese empire.
The origin of money is closely linked with state finance. It is a myth that
it originates with barter.
Inghams book 'The Nature of Money' gives a good account, see also the work
of the economist Randall Wray.
A summary is in http://pavlina-tcherneva.net/papers/Arestis-Sawyer-Chapter%2005.pdf
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
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Subject: Re: Money as a dominant social relation (was: Re: [ox-en] There is no such thing like "peer money")
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While I agree with your point, I probably should clarify mine to state that
where human civilization has emerged, money of some form has quite often if
not usually emerged. Some colleagues of mine that are Archaeologists argue
that "human civilization" (ie humans living in towns with markets etc) goes
back as far as 10,000 years. This includes recent work that a friend has
done on the very earliest known Egyptian civilizations, plus work on
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%87atalh%C3%B6y%C3%BCk where things like
obsidian and shells were used for trade tokens, etc.
it's a technology of convenience. I do agree with you that it hasn't emerged
universally (until recent times).
I agree that it wasn't really dominant until 300-500 years ago, this is when
in the West the paradigm of people "expressing self for materialistic gain"
(rf Clare W Graves) really started to emerge on a wide scale.
So, the point that people once used money in ways that did not over-extend
the medium of money proves the point that money is not always inherently in
and of itself, but that it is the assumptions people have about money, and
their shared understanding of how it is best used that is the problem.
Once again, I will re-suggest that for p2p systems, that money can be pushed
out to the periphery of systems (which is basically what is already
I do agree that humans could theoretically live without money. But, I also
contend that it is unlikely that humans will do so in our lifetimes (as I
On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 6:28 AM, Christian Siefkes <christian siefkes.net>
Samuel Rose wrote:
Money has been around for at least ten thousand years or more among
Money has naturally emerged among almost every culture that ever existed.
When we talk about money, we should remember that money as a _dominant
social relation_ is a fairly new phenomenon. In most cultures, money did
play a very important role, since most economy relations where based on
direct dependency (slaves producing for their master, serfs producing for
their feudal lord etc.) and/or on direct, money-less cooperation in small
groups (subsistence production in tribes, farmer families, or serf
families--except for the parts that went to the lord and the church).
Most production took place for direct consumption by the producers
(subsistence) and/or their masters (direct dependency). Possibly surplusses
(not needed for other purposes) were exchanged, but production _for
exchange_ was rare and existed mainly "at the fringes of society", as Marx
Money only became a dominant social relation when production _for
production with the explicit purpose of getting money, became the norm
rather than an exception. That happened only about 500-300 years ago, with
the emergence of capitalism.
Sadly, I don't know of any good English-language references to these
developments--if anybody can fill them in, I would be grateful. (Maybe
Victor, who has studied so closely the transition from feudalism to
Also, I believe that there have been many cultures who didn't know money at
all, though they might have used different systems that might seem similar
to, but cannot be considered money since they served a different purpose,
such as the Kula system [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kula_ring].
writes: "The Kula exchange system can be viewed as reinforcing status and
authority distinctions".) That Kula cannot be considered money has been
pointed out before by Gregers Petersen, if I remember correctly.
So, let's not be rash about the role of money. Electricity has been with us
for millions of years (think of lightning), but the use of electricity as a
major source of energy is rather new.
|-------- Dr. Christian Siefkes --------- christian siefkes.net ---------
| Homepage: http://www.siefkes.net/ | Blog: http://www.keimform.de/
| Peer Production in the Physical World: http://peerconomy.org/
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