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Thread: Metallism vs. Chartalism

  1. #1

    Metallism vs. Chartalism

    Metallism via Wikipedia

    Metallism is a centuries old school of thought which holds that money derives its value from precious metals. In some older monetary system based on metallism, silver, gold or other metals are used as the primary forms of money. Coins made of officially recognised valuable metal will often be the legal tender.

    Especially since the 19th century, adherents of metallism tend to accept that the relationship between money and precious metal can be indirect. In the gold standard adopted by much of the world in the late 19th and early 20th century, various paper bank notes could be exchanged for gold at banks.

    Contradistinctions
    Metallism versus fiat monetary systems

    Adherents of Metallism are opposed to the use of fiat money, i.e. governmentally-issued money with no intrinsic value.
    Metallism versus Chartalism

    Historically, the main rival school of though to metallism has been Chartalism, which holds that even in systems where coins are made of precious metals, money derives its value mainly from the authority of the State. Competition between these two alternative systems has existed for millennia, long before the concepts were formulised. And in some periods and regions hybrid monetary systems were used. As a set of principles governing the operation of monetary systems, chartalism has existed for several millennia before it was formalised. For example, Constantina Katsari has argued that principles from both metallism and chartalism were reflected in the monetary system introduced by Augustus, which was used in the eastern provinces of Roman Empire, from the early 1st century to the late 3rd century AD [1][2]
    Monometallism versus bimetallism

    A smaller disagreement which takes place relating to metallism is whether one metal should be used as currency (as in monometallism), or should there be two or more metals for that purpose (as in bimetallism).
    History of metalic monetary systems

    Historically, silver has been the main kind of money around the world, circulating bimetallically with gold. In many languages, the words for "money" and "silver" are identical. In the final era of global metal-based money, i.e. the first quarter of the 20th century, monometallic gold use has been the standard.
    Broad sense of the term

    In the broad sense of the term, which tends to be used only by scholars, metallism considers money to be a "creature of the market", a means to facilitate exchange of goods and services. In this broad sense, the essential nature of money is purchasing power, and it does not necessarily need to be backed by metals. Understood in this broad sense, metallism reflects the majority view among mainstream economists, which has prevailed since the early 19th century.[1]

  2. #2
    Chartalism

    Chartalism is a descriptive economic theory that details the procedures and consequences of using government-issued tokens as the unit of money, i.e. fiat money. The name derives from the Latin charta, in the sense of a token or ticket.[1] The modern theoretical body of work on chartalism is known as Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

    MMT aims to describe and analyze modern economies in which the national currency is fiat money, established and created exclusively by the government. In MMT, money enters circulation through government spending;Taxation is employed to establish the fiat money as currency, giving it value by creating demand for it in the form of a private tax obligation that can only be met using the government's currency.[2][3] An ongoing tax obligation, in concert with private confidence and acceptance of the currency, maintains its value. Because the government can issue its own currency at will, MMT maintains that the level of taxation relative to government spending (the government's deficit spending or budget surplus) is in reality a policy tool that regulates inflation and unemployment, and not a means of funding the government's activities per se.

    The theory was presented by German statistician and economist G. F. Knapp in 1895,[4] with important contributions also by Alfred Mitchell-Innes. It was referenced in the 1930 Treatise on Money of John Maynard Keynes,[5] which cited Knapp and "Chartalism" in its opening pages.[6] Chartalism experienced a revival under Keynes and Abba P. Lerner,[7] and has a number of modern proponents.

    Background

    Knapp coined the term "chartalism" in his State Theory of Money, which was published in German in 1895 and translated into English in 1924. Knapp argued that "money is a creature of law" rather than a commodity.[4] At the time of writing the Gold Standard was in existence, and Knapp contrasted his state theory of money with the view of "metallism", where the value of a unit of currency depended on the quantity of precious metal it contained or could be exchanged for. He argued the state could create pure paper money and make it exchangeable by recognising it as legal tender, with the criterion for the money of a state being "that which is accepted at the public pay offices".[4]

    As a set of principles governing the operation of monetary systems, chartalism has existed for several millennia before it was formalised. As an example, Constantina Katsari has argued that principles from both metallism and chartalism were reflected in the monetary system introduced by Augustus, which was used in the eastern provinces of Roman Empire, from the early 1st century to the late 3rd century AD. [8] [9]

    The prevailing view of money was that it had evolved from systems of barter to become a medium of exchange because it represented a durable commodity which had some use value. However, modern chartalist economists such as Wray and Forstater argue that more general statements appearing to support a chartalist view of tax-driven paper money appear in the earlier writings of many classical economists.[5][10] Adam Smith, for example, observed in The Wealth of Nations:

    A prince, who should enact that a certain proportion of his taxes should be paid in a paper money of a certain kind, might thereby give a certain value to this paper money; even though the term of its final discharge and redemption should depend altogether on the will of the prince

    — Smith, Adam , An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

    Forstater also finds support for the concept of tax-driven money, under certain institutional conditions, in the work of Jean-Baptiste Say, J.S. Mill, Karl Marx and William Stanley Jevons.[10]

    Alfred Mitchell-Innes, writing in 1914, argued that money existed not as a medium of exchange but as a standard of deferred payment, with government money being debt the government could reclaim by taxation.[11] Innes argued:

    Whenever a tax is imposed, each taxpayer becomes responsible for the redemption of a small part of the debt which the government has contracted by its issues of money, whether coins, certificates, notes, drafts on the treasury, or by whatever name this money is called. He has to acquire his portion of the debt from some holder of a coin or certificate or other form of government money, mid present it to the Treasury in liquidation of his legal debt. He has to redeem or cancel that portion of the debt...The redemption of government debt by taxation is the basic law of coinage and of any issue of government ‘money’ in whatever form.

    — Mitchell-Innes, Alfred, The Credit Theory of Money, The Banking Law Journal

    By 1947, when Abba Lerner wrote his article Money as a Creature of the State, economists had largely abandoned the idea that the value of money was closely linked to gold.[12] Lerner argued that responsibility for avoiding inflation and depressions lay with the state because of its ability to create or tax away money.[12]

    ....

  3. #3
    If you really consider that if in a system the Sovereign decides what is or isn't money, then perhaps money is ultimately a creature of and founded on sovereignty. The Midas story I was told was about potential dangers of the gold standard. Few seem to note that way way way way way back interest-bearing contracts tended to deal with the likes of crops or animals that could reproduce inherently. The idea of lending something lacking inherent "reproduce-ability" at interest wasn't necessarily heard of. IMHO there is a lot to be gleaned from studies along those lines.
    Last edited by allodial; 10-01-12 at 12:29 AM.
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    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by allodial View Post
    If you really consider that if in a system the Sovereign decides what is or isn't money, then perhaps money is ultimately a creature of and founded on sovereignty. The Midas story I was told was about potential dangers of the gold standard. Few seem to note that way way way way way back interest-bearing contracts tended to deal with the likes of crops or animals that could reproduce inherently. The idea of lending something lacking inherent "reproduce-ability" at interest wasn't necessarily heard of. IMHO there is a lot to be gleaned from studies along those lines.
    What you speak upon is interest and income vs. increase .

  5. #5
    Compare and contrast the following:

    [1] increase vs decrease;
    [3] capital gain vs capital loss;
    [4] capital receipt vs income;
    [5] principal vs interest.
    [6] tax increase vs increase in value of an asset
    [7] value vs valuation.
    [8] tax assessment vs valuation.

    What is taxed principal or interest?
    Would an original crop be taxed or the assessed valuation of the net increase in value of the crop from one point in time to another?
    Is a capital gain an increase or a decrease?
    Would a tax increase result from a decrease in value of an asset or from an increase in value of an asset?
    Why is raising a tax assessment called an increase?
    If Farmer A's crop is initially worth $500,000 and the value next year is $510K did he experience an increase or a decrease?


    Quote Originally Posted by shikamaru View Post
    What you speak upon is interest and income vs. increase .
    Or more likely, income is assessed on the increase in value of the underlying asset. If a note bears interest the principal + interest is a mathematical increase and income would be assessed on the valuation of the increase. Income however, is a generic term commonly split various into 'hairs': net income, gross income, taxable income.

    I read books on income tax for fun.
    Last edited by allodial; 10-01-12 at 10:59 PM.
    All rights reserved. Without prejudice. No liability assumed. No value assured.

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
    "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Thess. 5:21.

  6. #6
    I learned of the term natural increase from George Gordon.
    With animals; plants; (*and slaves), there is a natural increase to them.

    *Historical

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Interesting thread. I've been exploring this very subject lately, and have concluded the only purpose for taxation in a fiat money regime to to persuade people to use the currency.

    Consider the fact that the US has $300,000,000 US Notes in circulation (probably locked up in a vault somewhere) that are backed by gold certificates. Yet everyone uses FRN's, because taxes are collected in FRN's, and loans are made with them.

    Roosevelt began creating government programs that paid out benefits in FRN's. Now so many people collect government money in some fashion, it's unthinkable for most to consider ever going back to sound money.
    Last edited by Seosaidh; 10-03-12 at 04:06 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Seosaidh View Post
    Interesting thread. I've been exploring this very subject lately, and have concluded the only purpose for taxation in a fiat money regime to to persuade people to use the currency.

    Consider the fact that the US has $300,000,000 US Notes in circulation (probably locked up in a vault somewhere) that are backed by gold certificates. Yet everyone uses FRN's, because taxes are collected in FRN's, and loans are made with them.

    Roosevelt began creating government programs that paid out benefits in FRN's. Now so many people collect government money in some fashion, it's unthinkable for most to consider ever going back to sound money.

    It creates a demand for the notes produced. By habitation, it becomes customary and standard.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by shikamaru View Post
    It creates a demand for the notes produced. By habitation, it becomes customary and standard.
    Yes, it has created a habit among the general population. People have been indulging this habit for so long now, that they've forgotten there are alternatives like lawful money available. It's understandable that they think their tax revenue supports the state, even though the evidence points to tax revenue being unnecessary for the state to remain existing. That's another old habit that - in my opinion - needs to be kicked.
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