Economics for Activists Week One Rialto 12 June 2013

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Slides for week one of economics for activists. Core text, Mary Mellor, The Future of Money (London: Pluto Press, 2010)

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Economics for Activists Week One Rialto 12 June 2013

  1. 1. Economics for ActivistsWeek One -IntroductionF2 Building, New Fatima,Rialto12 June 2013
  2. 2. Week One – IntroductionWeek Two – What is Money? – (Future of Money, Chapter One)Week Three – The Privatisation of Money – (Future of Money, ChapterTwo)Week Four – Financialisation and Debt – (Future of Money, Chapter Three)Week Five – Credit and Capitalism – (Future of Money, Chapter Four)Week Six – Conclusion and discussion
  3. 3. Breviari d’Amour (Breviary of Love)byMatfré Ermengau of Bézierc.1288CEFranciscan friar
  4. 4. Money is a complex phenomenon whoseeconomic functioning relies on social trust andpublic authority.
  5. 5. Money is a complex phenomenon whoseeconomic functioning relies on social trust andpublic authority.The exposure of the reliance of the privatefinancial sector on the state has brought thefinancial system into full view and opens it upfor analysis. The opportunity must be taken tochallenge the private control of finance and askwhether such an important aspect of humansociety should be owned by, and serve, theinterests of capitalism.
  6. 6. Money is a complex phenomenon whoseeconomic functioning relies on social trust andpublic authority.The exposure of the reliance of the privatefinancial sector on the state has brought thefinancial system into full view and opens it upfor analysis. The opportunity must be taken tochallenge the private control of finance and askwhether such an important aspect of humansociety should be owned by, and serve, theinterests of capitalism.The money system needs to be reclaimed fromthe profit-driven market economy and sociallyadministered for the benefit of society as awhole as a public resource.
  7. 7. Money is a complex phenomenon whoseeconomic functioning relies on social trust andpublic authority.The exposure of the reliance of the privatefinancial sector on the state has brought thefinancial system into full view and opens it upfor analysis. The opportunity must be taken tochallenge the private control of finance and askwhether such an important aspect of humansociety should be owned by, and serve, theinterests of capitalism.The money system needs to be reclaimed fromthe profit-driven market economy and sociallyadministered for the benefit of society as awhole as a public resource.The capitalist market is not created to meetneeds, it is created to make profits.
  8. 8. Money is more helpfully seen not as a „thing‟ but as asocial form.
  9. 9. Money is more helpfully seen not as a „thing‟ but as asocial form.„Sound money‟ is a product of society, not of nature.
  10. 10. Money is more helpfully seen not as a „thing‟ but as asocial form.„Sound money‟ is a product of society, not of nature.When we say people trust in money we mean that theyare trusting in the organisations, society and authoritiesthat create and circulate it, other people, traders, thebanks and the state.
  11. 11. Money is more helpfully seen not as a „thing‟ but as asocial form.„Sound money‟ is a product of society, not of nature.When we say people trust in money we mean that theyare trusting in the organisations, society and authoritiesthat create and circulate it, other people, traders, thebanks and the state.Money, whatever its form, is a social construction, not anatural form.
  12. 12. Money is more helpfully seen not as a „thing‟ but as asocial form.„Sound money‟ is a product of society, not of nature.When we say people trust in money we mean that theyare trusting in the organisations, society and authoritiesthat create and circulate it, other people, traders, thebanks and the state.Money, whatever its form, is a social construction, not anatural form.It has not inherent value but it has vast social andpolitical power. (p.11)
  13. 13. Capitalism is first and foremost a historical social system.What distinguishes the historical social system we are calling historicalcapitalism is that in this historical system capital came to be used (invested)in a very special way. It came to be used with the primary objective or intentof self-expansion.
  14. 14. “Marx, for example, emphasizes that all of these forms of capital – merchants‟capital, money capital and rent on land – had an historical existence whichstretches back well before the advent of industrial capital in the modern sense.We therefore have to consider an historical process of transformation inwhich these separate and independently powerful forms of capital became integratedinto a purely capitalist mode of production.
  15. 15. “Marx, for example, emphasizes that all of these forms of capital – merchants‟capital, money capital and rent on land – had an historical existence whichstretches back well before the advent of industrial capital in the modern sense.We therefore have to consider an historical process of transformation inwhich these separate and independently powerful forms of capital became integratedinto a purely capitalist mode of production.These different forms of capital had to be rendered subservient to a circulationprocess dominated by the production of surplus value by wage labour.
  16. 16. “Marx, for example, emphasizes that all of these forms of capital – merchants‟capital, money capital and rent on land – had an historical existence whichstretches back well before the advent of industrial capital in the modern sense.We therefore have to consider an historical process of transformation inwhich these separate and independently powerful forms of capital became integratedinto a purely capitalist mode of production.These different forms of capital had to be rendered subservient to a circulationprocess dominated by the production of surplus value by wage labour.The form and manner of this historical process must therefore be a focus ofattention.”David Harvey, Limits to Capital (London: Verso, 2006), 73.
  17. 17. The purpose of capitalism is self-expansion – capital begets capital – and it does so by monetizingsocial value and human labour. This is a circuit of transformation.
  18. 18. The purpose of capitalism is self-expansion – capital begets capital – and it does so by monetizingsocial value and human labour. This is a circuit of transformation.“Historical capitalism involved therefore the widespread commodification of processes – notmerely exchange processes, but production processes, distribution processes, and investmentprocesses – that had previously been conducted other than via a „market‟. And, in the course ofseeking to accumulate more and more capital, capitalists have sought to commodify more andmore of these social processes in all spheres of economic life.”Immanuel Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism (London: Verso, 2011), 15.
  19. 19. The argument of this book is that as money is such a critical force in the circulation of goodsand services and therefore provisioning, it is vital to question how money is issued andcirculated, owned and controlled. From this perspective money is more than just a reflectionof value in the „real‟ economy. (p.22)The so-called „real economy‟ – (the economy of capitalist production and exchange) – is inreality an economy determined by capitalism and by patriarchy. Outside its boundaries liethe natural world and the un-monetised labour and needs of women, children and the poor,as well as non-monetised subsistence economies.
  20. 20. The argument of this book is that as money is such a critical force in the circulation of goodsand services and therefore provisioning, it is vital to question how money is issued andcirculated, owned and controlled. From this perspective money is more than just a reflectionof value in the „real‟ economy. (p.22)The so-called „real economy‟ – (the economy of capitalist production and exchange) – is inreality an economy determined by capitalism and by patriarchy. Outside its boundaries liethe natural world and the un-monetised labour and needs of women, children and the poor,as well as non-monetised subsistence economies.It is not a neutral „economic‟ choice to give something a monetary value, it is in essence asocial and political choice that dominant groups and classes have imposed. (p.23)

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