Commentary on Political Economy

Friday 24 January 2014

The Bitcoin Frenzy - Note on the Meaning of 'Money Capital'

In response to the growing controversy over Bitcoin as a viable currency, I have just posted this comment on the Gavyn Davies Blog in the Financial Times:

There are occasions when we become so inveigled with, so blinded by a new phenomenon or news item that flashes across a computer screen - that we neglect and even forget the most elementary notions of politico-economic analysis (the term I prefer to avoid the scientism of "economic analysis). Given that the entire "accountability" of the capitalist system - that is to say, its very raison d'etre as a politico-economic system for the accumulation of capital through monetary "profit" - is the enforceability of the wage relation - the basic violent "exchange" of value denominated in currency and labour-power (which is the politically disenfranchised quantified version of human living activity) - it is clear that this "exchange" and therefore the entire system of "rationally calculable profit" (as Max Weber would call it) on which capitalism is founded could not take place without the existence of a political institution that can enforce the wage relation! That institution is, of course, the collective capitalist, the State.

The task of the capitalist State is to ensure the preservation and reproduction on an expanded scale of the wage relation (this is the essence of capitalist accumulation). And to ensure this the State has to retain absolute (above all laws) control over the monetary medium with which wages are paid. - Which is why the capitalist State could never relinquish control over the issuance of what is the counterpart of "value" (as its store and measure and medium of exchange) - which is what we call "national currency" or "money".

Thus, "In Bitcoin (or God) we trust. Everyone else pay CASH (in the national currency)"!
Good bye and good luck from Joseph Belbruno. 

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