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Money, Power, and Monetary Regimes

Listed author(s):
  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Money, in this paper, is defined as a power relationship of a specific kind, a stratified social debt relationship, measured in a unit of account determined by some authority. A brief historical examination reveals its evolving nature in the process of social provisioning. Money not only predates markets and real exchange as understood in mainstream economics but also emerges as a social mechanism of distribution, usually by some authority of power (be it an ancient religious authority, a king, a colonial power, a modern nation state, or a monetary union). Money, it can be said, is a "creature of the state" that has played a key role in the transfer of real resources between parties and the distribution of economic surplus. In modern capitalist economies, the currency is also a simple public monopoly. As long as money has existed, someone has tried to tamper with its value. A history of counterfeiting, as well as that of independence from colonial and economic rule, is another way of telling the history of "money as a creature of the state." This historical understanding of the origins and nature of money illuminates the economic possibilities under different institutional monetary arrangements in the modern world. We consider the so-called modern "sovereign" and "nonsovereign" monetary regimes (including freely floating currencies, currency pegs, currency boards, dollarized nations, and monetary unions) to examine the available policy space in each case for pursuing domestic policy objectives.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_861.

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Date of creation: Mar 2016
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_861
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  1. Desan, Christine, 2015. "Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198709589, April.
  2. Scott Freeman, 1993. "The inefficiency of seigniorage from required reserves," Working Papers 9334, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Klaus Kultti, 1996. "A monetary economy with counterfeiting," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 175-186, June.
  4. Pavlina R. Tcherneva, 2007. "Chartalism and the Tax-Driven Approach to Money," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Alternative Monetary Economics, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  5. Pistor, Katharina, 2013. "A legal theory of finance," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 315-330.
  6. Bell, Stephanie, 2001. "The Role of the State and the Hierarchy of Money," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 149-163, March.
  7. Knapp, Georg Friedrich, 1924. "The State Theory of Money," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number knapp1924.
  8. Alla Semenova, 2011. "Would You Barter with God? Why Holy Debts and Not Profane Markets Created Money," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 376-400, 04.
  9. Ingham, Geoffrey, 2004. "The nature of money," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 5(2), pages 18-28.
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