1 1 20-37 2015

Hard cash, easy credit, fictitious capital: Critical reflections on money as a fetishised social relation

Bob Jessop

Abstract


This article explores some aspects of money as a social relation. Starting from Polanyi, it explores the nature of money as a non-commodity, real commodity, quasi-commodity, and fictitious commodity. The development of credit-debt relations is important in the last respect, especially in market economies where money in the form of coins and banknotes plays a minor role. This argument is developed through some key concepts from Marx concerning money as a fetishised and contradictory social relation, especially his crucial distinction, absent from Polanyi, between money as money and money as capital, each with its own form of fetishism. Attention then turns to Minsky’s work on Ponzi finance and what one might describe as cycles of the expansion of easy credit and the scramble for hard cash. This analysis is re-contextualised in terms of financialisation and finance-dominated accumulation, which promote securitisation and the autonomisation of credit money, interest-bearing capital. The article ends with brief reflections on the role of easy credit and hard cash in the surprising survival of neo-liberal economic and political regimes since the North Atlantic Financial Crisis became evident.

Keywords


Marxism; money; credit; fictitious capital; commodity; debt

Full Text:

HTML PDF

References


Aglietta, M. (1987) La Fin des Devises-Clés: Essai sur la Monnaie. Paris: Découverte.

Amato, M. and Fantacci, L. (2011) The End of Finance. Cambridge: Polity.

Broadbent, B. (2012) Deleveraging. Speech. 15 March, London. Available at: . Accessed 19 December 2013.

Bryan, D. and Rafferty, M. (2006) Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

de Brunhoff, S. (1976) Marx on Money. New York: Urizen Books.

Buffet, W.E. (2003) Chairman’s Letter. In: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 2002 Annual Report. Omaha: Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Carchedi, G. (2011) Behind and Beyond the Crisis. International Socialism Journal, 132: 121–155.

Crotty, J. (1985) The Centrality of Money, Credit and Financial Intermediation in Marxist Crisis Theory. In: Resnick, S. and Wolff, R. (eds.) Marxian Political Economy. New York: Autonomedia.

Deutsch, K. (1973) The Nerves of Government. New York: The Free Press.

Graeber, D. (2010) Debt: The First 5000 Years. New York: Melville Books.

Haldane, A. (2012) The Doom Loop. London Review of Books, 34(4): 21-22.

Haldane, A.G. & Alessandri, P. (2009) Banking on the State. Basel: Bank of International Settlements [online]. Available at: . Accessed 20 April 2013.

Ingham, G.K. (2004) The Nature of Money. Cambridge: Polity.

Jessop, B. (2007) Knowledge as a Fictitious Commodity: Insights and Limits of a Polanyian Perspective. In: Buğra, A. and Ağartan, K. (eds.) Reading Karl Polanyi for the 21st Century: Market Economy as a Political Project. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Jessop, B. (2013a) Credit Money, Fiat Money and Currency Pyramids: Reflections on Financial Crisis and Sovereign Debt. In: Harcourt, G. and Pixley, J. (eds.) Financial Crises and the Nature of Capitalist Money. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Jessop, B. (2013b) The North Atlantic Financial Crisis and Varieties of Capitalism: a Minsky and/or Marx moment? And perhaps Max Weber too? In: Fadda, S. and Tridico, P. (eds.) Financial Crisis, Labour Markets and Institutions. London: Routledge.

Krätke, M.R. (2005) Critique of Public Finance: The Fiscal Crisis of the State Revisited [online]. Available at: . Accessed 19 December 2013.

Krippner, G.R. (2005) The Financialization of the American Economy. Socio-Economic Review, 3(2): 173-208.

Krul, M. (2010) Marx and Monetary Theory. Notes and Commentaries [online], 19 December. Available at: . Accessed 19 December 2013.

Lapavitsas, C. (2012) Crisis in the Eurozone. London: Verso.

Lapavitsas, C. (2013) Profiting without Producing: How Finance Exploits All. London: Verso.

McNally, D. (2011) Marx, Marxists and the Financial Forms of the Crisis. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 5(2): 112-17.

Marx, K. (1976) Speech of Dr Marx on Protection, Free Trade, and the Working Classes. In: Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 6. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1847].

Marx, K. (1967a) Capital, vol. 1. Third edition. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1883].

Marx, K. (1967b) Capital, vol. 2. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1893].

Marx, K. (1967c) Capital, vol. 3. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1894].

Marx, K. (1969) Theories of Surplus Value, Part II. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1862-63].

Marx, K. (1970) A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1859].

Marx, K. (1972) Theories of Surplus Value, part III. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1862-63].

Marx, K. (1973) Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Harmondsworth: Penguin [1858].

Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1976) The German Ideology. In: Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 5. London: Lawrence and Wishart [1845-46].

Minsky, H.P. (1975) John Maynard Keynes. New York: Columbia University Press.

Minsky, H.P. (1982) Can “It” Happen Again? Essays on Instability and Finance. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Minsky, H.P. (1986) Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Minsky, H.P. (1992) Schumpeter and Finance. In: Biasco, S., Roncaglia, A. and Salvati, M. (eds.) Market and Institutions in Economic Development. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Minsky, H.P. (1995) Longer Waves in Financial Relations: Financial Factors in the More Severe Depressions II. Journal of Economic Issues, 29(1): 83-96.

Minsky, H.P. (1996) Uncertainty and the Institutional Structure of Capitalist Economies. Journal of Economic Issues, 30(2): 357-68.

Moseley, H. (ed.) (2005) Marx’s Theory of Money: Modern Appraisals. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Nelson, A. (1999) Marx’s Concept of Money: The God of Commodities. London: Routledge.

Park, H.W. (2010) Endogeneity of Money and the State in Marx’s Theory of Non-Commodity Money [online]. Available at: . Accessed 19 December 2013.

Polanyi, K. (1957) The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time. Boston: Beacon.

Polanyi, K. (1977) The Livelihood of Man. New York: Academic Press.

Polanyi, K. (1982) The Economy as Instituted Process. In: Granovetter, M. and Swedberg, R. (eds.) The Sociology of Economic Life. Boulder: Westview.

Rasmus, J. (2010) Epic Recession. London: Pluto.

Schaniel, W.C. and Neale, W.C. (1999) Quasi-Commodities in the First and Third Worlds. Journal of Economic Issues, 33(1): 95-115.

Stemmet, F. (1996) The Golden Contradiction: A Marxist Theory of Gold. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Strange, S. (1971a) Sterling and British Policy: A Political Study of a Currency in Decline. London: Oxford University Press.

Strange, S. (1971b) The Politics of International Currencies. World Politics, 23(2): 215-31.

Triffin, R. (1961) Gold and the Dollar Crisis: the Future of Convertibility. New Haven: Yale University Press.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/finsoc.v1i1.1369

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.