Money MattersApr 27, 2020
Is money the root of all evil, or is it just a technology that makes our lives more efficient? Should some things not be for sale? This week on Philosophy Talk, we’ll be discussing money: where it comes from, what it is now, and what it could become in the future.
Harold G. Neuman
Sunday, September 18, 2022 -- 6:22 AMI would give a perspective,
I would give a perspective, based on recent experience. I needed a car. Found an ad for one that looked appealing. It was older and had a high mileage, but appeared to be in good condition for all that. The price was affordable. We made contact and agreed to the seller's price. Then, the curveball: the seller wanted payment in crypto currency. (Bitcoin). This did not seem right. We ended the transaction. So, yes money matters. For us, the kind of money is the distinction.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 -- 12:27 PMThe pronoun "us" is not
The pronoun "us" is not correct, as counter-exampled by testimony of experience in the case of the present author. Your belief in an independent typology of monetary kinds is a personal one, and can not be inter-subjectively shared on account of its logical inconsistency. Euros and dollars, for example, are of different size-types, but not of different historical types (i.e. they both emerge from coinage). So-called "cryptocurrency" is not essentially different from bank notes on durable fabric in that any standard exchange value has to be tied to a presumed retail contract in the context of a valued good for which two elements are determinative: use of a product and its production (labor + materials). The price is what the contract stipulates, to which both parties must agree. The means of this agreement is called "exchange-value", so that currencies that have it, conditioned by prior consensus in the community of retailers, are typically identical, differing from other types primarily in their independence from the contractors. What I argue here then is that you've made a serious error in reasoning by concluding that because cryptocurrency seems like a different type of currency than exchange in bank notes, that it therefore must be a different type, valid for everyone who considers it. Do you agree?
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 -- 1:38 PMIt may be of some value to
It may be of some value to note Aristotle's discussion of currency in book I of the Politics. He believed, as participant Neuman does, that because trade requires currency of some kind, there can't or shouldn't be more than one kind, which in Aristotle's day consisted of smelted metals, its material cause, and the shape it's put in, its formal cause. What this value consists of is described in tripartite form (1257b36):
1) Money-acquisition is in principle unlimited, since wealth itself, and not any use to which wealth is put, is its purpose.
2) Money as means to an end is limited by the design of its use in trade, and has value only in relation to the goods for which it is exchanged.
3) The goods for which money is exchanged can in turn be unlimited is acquisition, or limited by specific uses, but in either case will constitute the grounds of currency-value, once it has been exchanged.
Independent of considerations of this paraphrase's accuracy, two consequences can be drawn:
1) Without private property, currency would have no value; and
2) money is analogous in Aristotle to digested food, beginning in abstract quantity, continuing in absorption of nutrients, and ending as excrement, biologically understood as soil-enrichment for continued agricultural product. Might it be relevant to the current discussion that money could keep its value without having to bring it through the first and third stages, leaving just its nutritional value? Asked differently, if the drive to increase wealth in the abstract could be given up so that it's only needed when some specific use is put to it, would private property then be just a bunch of s**t?