Dirua eta boterea

Lana: Pavlina R. Tcherneva-ren Money, Power, and Monetary Regimes1.

Dirua estatuaren izaki bat da. Moneta monopolio publikoa da. Dirua ondasun publikoa da. Subiranotasun monetarioa subiranotasun politikoa baino lehenagokoa da. Nazio bat moneta bat. Horrelakoak irakurtzen ditugu artikulu mamitsu horretan.

Dirua harreman sozial bat da, azpian boterea azaltzen delarik2.

Historian akats batzuk erabili dira: diruaren jatorria berdin txanpongintzaren jatorria, dirua truke harreman gisa, …

Alta, dirua gutxienez 3.000 urte lehengo azaldu zen, buztinezko taulekin3.

Mesopotamiatik gaur egungo diru modernorako bidean, zenbait mugarri aipatuz (Egipto, Antzinako Grezia, …) eta tartean DTM azalduz, zenbait autore ‘zahar’ aipatzen dizkigu Tcherneva-k (Innes, 1913; Knapp, 1924; Keynes, 1930) baita autore ‘moderno’ ere (Bell, 2001; Goodhart, 1998; Minsky, 1986; Mosler, 1997–98; Wray, 1998).

Artikuluan ukitutako punturik garrantzitsuenak:

(a) Mesopotamia4, Antzinako Grezia5, zergapetzea6, diru modernoa7 eta zergapetzea8, zergapetze modernoaren bi funtzio9

(b) Knapp10, Goodhart11, eurogunea12 eta EBZ13, sistema monetario erabat subiranoak14

(c) Langabezia fenomeno monetarioa da15

(d) Moneta erabat flotatzailea, ez trukakorra16

(e) Ondorioak: Estuaren rola17, moneta monopolio publikoa eta diruaren ‘neutraltasuna’18, mitoak19

Kasurako,

monetary regimes like the European Monetary Union have forced an incoherent divorce between nation states and their national currencies at great economic and human costs

Bibliografia apurra:

Bell, S. 2001. “The Role of the State and the Hierarchy of Money.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 25: 149–63. (Oraingo Stephanie Kelton)

Goodhart, C.A.E. 1998. “The Two Concepts of Money: Implications for the Analysis of Optimal Currency Areas.” European Journal of Political Economy 14: 407–32.

Hudson, M. 2003. “The Creditary/Monetary Debate in Historical Perspective.” In S. Bell and E. Nell(eds.) The State, the Market and the Euro. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Innes, A.M. 1913. “What is Money?” Banking Law Journal. May: 377–408.

Keynes, J.M. 1930. A Treatise on Money. London, UK: Macmillan.

Keynes, J.M. 1936. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. New York, NY: Harcourt-Brace & World.

Knapp, G.F. [1924] 1973. The State Theory of Money. Clifton, NY: Augustus M. Kelley.

Minsky, H.P. 1986. Stabilizing and Unstable Economy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Mosler. W. 1997–98. “Full Employment and Price Stability.” Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 20 (2): 167–82.

Tcherneva, P.R. 2006. “Chartalism and the Tax-Driven Approach to Money.” In P. Arestis and M. Sawyer (eds.) Handbook of Alternative Monetary Economics. Northampton. MA: Edward Elgar.

Tcherneva, P.R. 2012. “Employer of Last Resort.” In J.E. King (ed.) The Elgar Companion to Post Keynesian Economics. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Wray, L.R. 1998. Understanding Modern Money: The Key to Full Employment and Price Stability. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.


1 Ikus http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_861.pdf.

2 Ingelesez: “A historical journey through the origins of money indicates that money is first and foremost a social relationship. More precisely, it is a power credit-debt relationship, whereby the indebted party issues a liability that is held by the creditor as an asset. Behind this social relationship lay varied social power relationships that codify human behavior in the specific historical context and cultural and religious norms that govern the process of social provisioning.“

3 Ingelesez: “It is a well-established fact that money predates minting by nearly 3,000 years. Clay tablets (the earliest discovered forms of money) and various other kinds of instruments which bear no “intrinsic” value had circulated for thousands of years before the emergence of coinage or trade. Indeed, clay tablets are themselves early checks or balance sheets, where the markings on the tablet specify how the debt can be extinguished (for example, a King’s Check would be inscribed “Say to NN to give X to the bearer”), the collateral for the debt (someone’s son or daughter), or the terms of debt slavery and bankruptcy.”

4 Ingelesez: “Assyriologists trace the origins of money to Mesopotamian temples and palaces, which developed an elaborate system of internal accounting of credits and debts (Hudson 2003). These large public institutions played a key role in establishing a general unit of account and store of value (initially for internal record keeping, but also for administering prices). Money, in a sense, evolved as a public good introduced by public institutions in the process of standardizing prices and weights.”

5 Ingelesez: “In Ancient Greece, as in Ancient Egypt, the emergence of money was closely tied to need of religious authorities to control the flow of surplus. In other words, money becomes a public mechanism of distribution of economic surplus and justice. (…) [In Ancient Greece] money emerged in the context of […] socioeconomic hierarchies and inequalities. Money was first embodied in the portions of sacrificial bull’s flesh distributed by religious authorities during the rituals of communal sacrificial meals.”

6 Ingelesez: “In sum, power, taxation, and religious tribute play a crucial role in all of these accounts of the origins of money. Taxation is the motor behind the transfer of real resources from subjects to authority. Money is the vehicle. The resource transfer was partly to provision the authority itself, and partly to allow the authority to redistribute the surplus to its subjects more “equitably” within the context of the cultural and religious social mores of the time. In a sense, money is a creature of the state, a public good, and a redistributive mechanism employed by that state for good or ill.

7 Ingelesez: “The precise origins of money will never be known to us, but we know that it cannot be understood outside the powers of some authority or arbiter. In the modern context, however, money is not only a public good, but it is also a simple public monopoly. Modern nation states, like their ancient counterparts, also impose compulsory debts on the population and determine how they will be settled. But now they also have the exclusive power to issue the very thing that settles those debt obligations (even if they abdicate this power, as is the case of some countries today).”

8 Ingelesez: “Taxes In the modern context, taxes assume an additional role. They still serve as an instrument of transferring real resources from the private to the public sector, but the way this transfer occurs is by creating demand for government-issued fiat currency. Modern governments settle their debts and pay for their expenditures by issuing their own liabilities—reserves, notes, coins, government checks. The private sector, facing a series of compulsory obligations to the state, denominated in the state-administered and state-issued unit of account, must obtain the currency before it can settle its debts to the state. Obviously, the issuer (the government) cannot collect taxes in currency it has not already issued. The way the private sector obtains currency from the issuer is by offering labor, goods, and services for sale to the state, paid in state currency.

9 Ingelesez: “In other words, in the modern context, taxes have two functions. First, they create demand for otherwise worthless paper currency (Mosler 1997–98; Wray 1998). Second, they serve as a means of provisioning the government in real, not in financial, terms. A monopoly currency issuer is never financially constrained by tax collections, as it always pays by issuing more of its own liabilities. It can spend as much currency/reserves as it wishes, so long as there are real goods and services for sale. And the state cannot possibly collect currency through taxes before it has provided it through spending. The state does not need “tax money” to spend; it needs real resources. A welfare state in particular needs an army, public school teachers, a police force, food inspectors, and any other resources necessary to fulfill its public purpose. In a way, the modern state, as in ancient Greece, continues to serve a redistributive function in the economy, where it collects real resources (labor) from the private sector, and then redistributes them back to the private sector “more equitably” in the form of infrastructure, public education, government research and development, and via any other social welfare functions it has been asked to fulfill by voters. The role of taxation in modern market economies remains the same as in ancient times: it is not a “funding mechanism,” but a “real resource transfer mechanism.”

10 Ingelesez: “When Knapp proclaimed that “money is a creature of law” (1924: 1), he did not say that “money is a creature of legal tender law”(…) Indeed Knapp explicitly rejected such an interpretation. Money is a creature of law because the state is the adjudicator and enforcer of nonreciprocal obligations and other private-sector contracts.“

11 Ingelesez: ““One nation, one currency” is the norm in modern economies (Goodhart 1998).”

12 Ingelesez: “... in … eurozone (EZ). They gave up their national currencies when they joined the monetary union. (…) to conduct expansionary domestic policy, EZ governments must earn or borrow euros first. Net exports become the main channel for increasing a country’s euro holdings (a strategy that describes the case of Germany, for example), but should a nation find itself in a net importing position, thereby losing euro reserves (as is the case in the periphery), the only way to fund government programs is by borrowing euros,by raising domestic taxes for revenue, or by cutting those programs. The latter two have contractionary effect, which undermines the governments’ ability to pursue its policy agenda further. The former (raising revenue through borrowing) puts the periphery nations at the mercy of the private market’s willingness to finance these already heavily indebted nations. It also puts the periphery countries in a vicious Ponzi finance cycle, where more heavily indebted nations face rising costs of borrowing, thereby increasing their overall indebtedness, while further undermining their ability to repay their debt. The EZ has tried to “solve” its economic problems by becoming a net exporter vis-a-vis the rest of the world. It is well understood that net exports cannot be a global solution to economic problems (as for every net exporter there must be a net importer), but within the EZ itself, it is highly likely that there will always be some countries that are in a net importing position.”

13 Ingelesez: “Because the European Central Bank (ECB) is prohibited from financing EZ members by purchasing their government debt (the way the Bank of Japan or the Bank of England do, for example), the EZ lacks a fundamental mechanism for executing independent macroeconomic policy. Thus, member nations have given up unprecedented policy space to pursue domestic priorities, including the maintenance of some basic public-sector functionsor the implementation of pro-growth stimulus policies as needed. At the same time, the EZ as a whole lacks a central fiscal mechanism to conduct euro-wide economicpolicy, as is normally the case in other monetary unions with a full monetary sovereignty (as in the US, Canada, or Australia).”

14 Ingelesez: “In fully sovereign monetary regimes, however, the economic possibilities before a nation with a freely floating nonconvertible national currency are constrained largely by political considerations and the availability of real resources to achieve those priorities, not by the availability of money.

The final issue to address, then, is how can this policy space be used by a monetarily sovereign government for achieving various policy goals? The answer to the question will also help us debunk the final of the three myths (…), namely that money is neutral and that, in and of itself, it does not affect employment and production decision.”

15 Ingelesez: “Unemployment is a monetary phenomenon. From the point of view of firms it means that, in the aggregate, expected costs and proceeds do not justify the employment of any more individuals than firms are already employing. This is the effective demand problem identified by Keynes (1936). Note that effective demand can still be deficient (in the sense that profit expectations do not warrant any more hiring) even in a very strong economy. Firms are simply not in the business of providing jobs for all. They can beneither expected nor required to attain and maintain full employment over the long run. That is the job of government. And that is because “unemployment” is in a certain sense created by government. From the point of view of households, unemployment is evidence of someone wanting but not being able to obtain the currency. Recall that the tax that creates demand for the currency immediately creates unemployment. The population is required to fulfill a nonreciprocal obligation with currency it does not have. The source of that currency is the government. Thus the private sector provides real goods and services (labor) to the government in exchange for that currency. The tax creates a demand for government-issued money by creating unemployment in that currency (that is, labor which seeks remuneration). It is therefore incumbent on the monopoly issuer to provide its currency in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of full employment and price stability. As the monopoly issuer of the currency, the state has the privilege of setting the prices for the goods and services it receives in exchange for the currency. But the state need not set all prices. It is sufficient to fix only one of them (the price of labor, for example) to anchor the value of its currency. While currency values are themselves very complexly determined, they essentially reflect what one can buy with the currency. The hourly wage of the buffer stock program pins down a basic conversion rate between labor and the currency. In other words,say, a $10/hour wage in the program would anchor the currencyin labor power and set the value of the dollar to be equal to six minutes of work. If the wage were doubled, then as a benchmark one dollar will exchange for three minutes of work (or will erode in value by half). So when the emitter of the currency (the government) sets the exchange rate between the currency and the labor in the countercyclical buffer stock pool, it helps stabilize the value ofits currency (for details, see Mosler 1997–98; Wray 1998; and Tcherneva 2012).”

16 Ingelesez: “Freely floating nonconvertible currenies today have no equivalent anchors. (…) Our aim is merely to point out that, in a world where the currency is a simple public monopoly: 1) unemployment is evidence that the currency is in short supply; 2) the tax itself creates unemployment by creating private demand for the monopolist’s currency; 3) the monopolist has the power to set a conversion rate between its currency and labor hours; 4) the monopolist can provide the currency on an as-needed basis by maintaining the internal anchor; and 5) the buffer stock employment program can be used to create socially useful output, thereby allowing the monopoly currency issuer to fulfill its redistributive functions in a way that serves the public purpose.”

17 Ingelesez: “… by defining money as an evolving social power relationship in the process of social provisioning.(…) From its inception, money has been a “creature of the state,” however broadly defined. Because of its unique power to impose compulsory obligations on its subjects and set the terms of their repayment, the state has always played some redistributive role in the process of social provisioning. This redistributive function is intrinsic to the state, irrespective of whether it is used for the good of the many or the good of the few.

18 Ingelesez: “In modern capitalist economies the currency is a simple public monopoly, and competitive market-clearing models based on the neutrality of money are wholly inapplicable to the study of the monetary system.”

19 Ingelesez: “… the pervasive mainstream economic myths about the origins and nature of money have alleged that the state’s power over the monetary system is an unwarranted intrusion with significant disruptive effects. These myths have also given rise to monetary arrangements (such as currency boards or monetary unions) that radically constrain the policy options before modern nation states. Not only can the birth of money not be divorced from the powers of the state, but the entire monetary system resides within the set of rules and legal code set forth by the state.”

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