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The Philosophy of Money

Third enlarged edition

Georg Simmel

Edited by

David Frisby

Translated by

Tom Bottomore and David Frisby
from a first draft by Kaethe Mengelberg

LONDON AND NEW YORK

-iii-




Questia Media America, Inc. www.questia.com



Publication Information: Book Title: The Philosophy of Money. Contributors: David Frisby - editor, Georg Simmel - author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 2004. Page Number: iii.

First published in l978


by Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd

Second edition published in 1990


by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

Reprinted 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003

Third edition published in 2004
by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada


by Routledge
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group

© 1978, 1990, 2004 Routledge

Transferred to digital printing 2003

Printed and bound in Great Britain by Biddles Short Run Books, King's Lynn

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or
utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now
known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in
any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publishers.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
A catalog record for this book has been requested

ISBN 0-415-34173-6 (hbk)



ISBN 0-415-34172-8 (pbk)

Contents




Acknowledgements

xii










Note on the Translation

xiii










Preface to the Third Edition

xv










Preface to the Second Edition

xlvii










Introduction to the Translation

1



















Preface

53



















Chapter 1 Value and Money

59










I

59










Reality and value as mutually independent categories through which our conceptions become images of the world

59










The psychological fact of objective value

62










Objectivity in practice as standardization or as a guarantee for the totality of subjective values

64










Economic value as the objectification of subjective values, as a result of establishing distance between the consuming subject and the object

65










An analogy with aesthetic value

73










Economic activity establishes distances and overcomes them







II 79










Exchange as a means of overcoming the purely subjective value significance of an object 79







In exchange, objects express their value reciprocally 80







The value of an object becomes objectified by exchanging it for another object 81







Exchange as a form of life and as the condition of economic value, as a primary economic fact 82







Analysis of the theories of utility and scarcity 90







Value and price: the socially fixed price as a preliminary stage of the objectively regulated price 94







III 101







Incorporation of economic value and a relativistic world view 101







The epistemology of a relativistic world view 102







The construction of proofs in infinite series and their reciprocal legitimation 104







The objectivity of truth as well as of value viewed as a relation between subjective elements 108







Money as the autonomous manifestation of the exchange relation which transforms desired objects into economic objects, and establishes the substitutability of objects 119







Analysis of the nature of money with reference to its value stability, its development and its objectivity 122







Money as a reification of the general form of existence according to which things derive their significance from their relationship to each other 128







Chapter 2 The Value of Money as a Substance 131







I 131







The intrinsic value of money and the measurement of value 131







Problems of measurement 133







The quantity of effective money 137







Does money possess an intrinsic value? 142







The development of the purely symbolic character of money 146

-vi-




II 152







Renunciation of the non-monetary uses of monetary material 152







The first argument against money as merely a symbol: the relations of money and goods, which would make an intrinsic value for money superfluous, are not accurately determinable; intrinsic value remedies this deficiency 155







The second argument against money as merely a symbol: the unlimited augmentability of monetary symbols; relativistic indifference to the absolute limits of monetary quantity and the errors to which this indifference leads 159







The supply of money 161







The reciprocal nature of the limitation that reality places on pure concepts 165







III 168







The historical development of money from substance to function 168







Social interactions and their crystallization into separate structures; the common relations of buyer and seller to the social unit as the sociological premise of monetary intercourse 170







Monetary policy: largeness and smallness, diffuseness and concentration of the economic circle in their significance for the intrinsic character of money 172







Social interaction and exchange relations: money's functions: its facilitation of trade, its constancy as a measure of value, its mobilization and condensation of values 174







The nature of the economic circle and its significance for money 179







The transition to money's general functional character 184







The declining significance of money as substance 190







The increasing significance of money as value 198







Chapter 3 Money in the Sequence of Purposes 204







I 204







Action towards an end as the conscious interaction between subject and object 204







The varying length of teleological series 207







The tool as intensified means 209

-vii




Money as the purest example of the tool 210







The unlimited possibilities for the utilization of money 212







The unearned increment of wealth 217







The difference between the same amount of money as part of a large and of a small fortune 218







Money-because of its character as pure means-as peculiarly congruent with personality types that are not closely united with social groups 221







II 228







The psychological growth of means into ends 228







Money as the most extreme example of a means becoming an end 232







Money as an end depends upon the cultural tendencies of an epoch 232







Psychological consequences of money's teleological position 235







Greed and avarice 238







Extravagance 247







Ascetic poverty 251







Cynicism 255







The blasé attitude 256







III 258







The quantity of money as its quality 259







Subjective differences in amounts of risk 260







The qualitatively different consequences of quantitatively altered causes 262







The threshold of economic awareness 264







Differential sensitivity towards economic stimuli 265







Relations between external stimuli and emotional responses in the field of money 269







Significance of the personal unity of the owner 271







The material and cultural relation of form and amount 272







The relation between quantity and quality of things, and the significance of money for this relation 277

-viii-




SYNTHETIC PART







Chapter 4 Individual Freedom 283







I 283







Freedom exists in conjunction with duties 283







The gradations of this freedom depend on whether the duties are directly personal or apply only to the products of labour 284







Money payment as the form most congruent with personal freedom 285







The maximization of value through changes in ownership 292







Cultural development increases the number of persons on whom one is dependent and the simultaneous decrease in ties to persons viewed as individuals 295







Money is responsible for impersonal relations between people, and thus for individual freedom 297







II 303







Possession as activity 303







The mutual dependence of having and being 306







The dissolving of this dependency by the possession of money 307







Lack of freedom as the interweaving of the mental series: this lack at a minimum when the interweaving of either is with the most general of the other series 312







Its application to limitations deriving from economic interests 314







Freedom as the articulation of the self in the medium of things, that is, freedom as possession 321







The possession of money and the self 326







III 331







Differentiation of person and possession 331







Spatial separation and technical objectification through money 332







The separation of the total personality from individual work activities and the results of this separation for the evaluation of these work activities 334







The development of the individual's independence from the group 342







New forms of association brought about by money; the association planned for a purpose 343

-ix-




General relations between a money economy and the principle of individualism 347







Chapter 5 The Money Equivalent of Personal Values 355







I 355







Wergild 355







The transition from the utilitarian to the objective and absolute valuation of the human being 357







Punishment by fine and the stages of culture 363







The increasing inadequacy of money 366







Marriage by purchase 370







Marriage by purchase and the value of women 372







Division of labour among the sexes, and the dowry 374







The typical relation between money and prostitution, its development analogous to that of wergild 376







Marriage for money 380







Bribery 384







Money and the ideal of distinction 389







II 395







The transformation of specific rights into monetary claims 395







The enforceability of demands 397







The transformation of substantive values into money values 399







The negative meaning of freedom and the extirpation of the personality 400







The difference in value between personal achievement and monetary equivalent 404







III 409







'Labour money' and its rationale 409







The unpaid contribution of mental effort 411







Differences in types of labour as quantitative differences 413







Manual labour as the unit of labour 418







The value of physical activity reducible to that of mental activity 421







Differences in the utility of labour as arguments against 'labour money': the insight into the significance of money thereby afforded 425

-x-

Chapter 6 The Style of Life 429







I 429







The preponderance of intellectual over emotional functions brought about by the money economy 429







Lack of character and objectivity of the style of life 432







The dual roles of both intellect and money: with regard to content they are supra-personal 434







The dual roles of intellect and money: with regard to function they are individualistic and egoistic 437







Money's relationship to the rationalism of law and logic 441







The calculating character of modern times 443







II 446







The concept of culture 446







The increase in material culture and the lag in individual culture 448







The objectification of the mind 452







The division of labour as the cause of the divergence of subjective and objective culture 453







The occasional greater weight of subjective culture 463







The relation of money to the agents of these opposing tendencies 468







III 470







Alterations in the distance between the self and objects as the manifestation of varying styles of life 470







Modern tendencies towards the increase and diminution of this distance 474







The part played by money in this dual process 476







Credit 479







The pre-eminence of technology 481







The rhythm or symmetry, and its opposite, of the contents of life 485







The sequence and simultaneity of rhythm and symmetry 488







Analogous developments in money 491







The pace of life, its alterations and those of the money supply 498







The concentration of monetary activity 503







The mobilization of values 505







Constancy and flux as categories for comprehending the world, their synthesis in the relative character of existence 508







Money as the historical symbol of the relative character of existence 510







Afterword: The Constitution of the Text 513







Name Index 535
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