Of Money, Heresy and Surrender, Part II

A Plea for a Perishable Currency

ABSTRACT: A fundamental but neglected truth about the nature of money resides in its imperishable character. There is virtually no trace of such an insight in the vast specialized literature dealing with the subject. And that is because we have all been taught that precious metals have traditionally been employed as the chief means of payment. Before, that is,  they were eventually transmuted into the virtual form of contemporary bank money. At no time is anyone made to think about this peculiar physical property of the money

It stands as one of the great merits of the German anarchist current of thought of the early twentieth century (Silvio Gesell and Rudolf Steiner in particular) to have acknowledged the extraordinarily unfair advantage wielded by ‘money’ vis-à-vis the rest of the economy. These reformers sought thereby to remedy this distortion via the introduction of a time-sensitive money certificate. This article explores the institutional and theoretical issues that have led to this innovation, and concludes with a brief survey of the record achieved thus far by the late attempts of introducing in several parts of the world regional currencies in substitution of proprietary bank money – i.e., money as we know it. The final segment explores the motives behind the reactions of international central banking to such reformist initiatives.


In Anarchist Studies, Vol. 18 n.1 (2010): 9-39


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