Money and Power III: The State



The normality that dealing with money assumes for us obscures the forced nature of the activity. It forces us to live from money, and that means a lot. It compels us among other things to vie with others and to compete with others for money, from which they and we must live. It forces us into inevitable conflicts of interest between those who cannot help but want to pay as little as possible and those who cannot help but want to be paid as much as possible. It forces some to starve who haven’t the money to survive, and some into misery if they haven’t the money for something better. And it forces everyone to engage in the world in ways that yield as much money as possible: contaminating the land, cutting down the rain forests, overfishing the oceans, exploiting people, destroying living conditions …

States are the ones who issue money in the form of national currencies

Money dictates the logic of these coercions but it can’t enforce them, not even on itself. No coin, no bank note, no number on an account can itself force us to use it as money and in using it follow money’s logic. It’s from states that this compulsion issues, modern nation-states which emerged in this form in the first place with the advent of the modern-money economy, and for this purpose: because this kind economy requires precisely this kind of state. In their constitutions they have enshrined their commitment to the market economy and to plutocracy. States are the ones who issue money in the form of national currencies and reinforce it with violence, over which the states possess a monopoly versus their citizens. Where an individual does not comply with the constraints of buying, the state will have its police show how compelling they are. And where another state’s financial and economic interests don’t mesh, military and other robust services are on hand to install a government that does.

States are the agencies of money

States do that in their own interest, because the state’s interests in this regard are identical to those of the  economy. No capitalistic state stands in opposition to its own economy as a counterforce and marches against its economy. A state intervenes in economic affairs chiefly when trying to stimulate the economy. Where the state, on the contrary, tries to curb the economy, it is always only for its most essential needs that are required to contain the conflicts and destruction that this type of economy enforces, to restrain it from ultimately choking itself. Because the modern state must and will perpetuate this kind of economy: it sustains itself by money – money that "its" economy yields. The state is its chief lobbyist. States are the agencies of money.

Signet Sunflower Foundation