Why is money so valuable

Who gives this power to money?

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This is how we see it in front of us: We pay for it with monetary value value of the things. A loaf of bread may cost its 4.50 and is so worth it, and if we buy it it will be with money worth that same 4.50. So both have their value, things and Money, and the value of money stands for that of things. Again, it goes without saying: Because things are worth something, they cost us money. The buffalo costs € 100 because it is so valuable, because it is undoubtedly: valuable for the work in the field, because of the leather that it donates, or perhaps even as such, as this great, wonderful creature. 100 € might be ridiculously low, but they are worth it when there is so much money to be paid for it. The buffalo represents this value, so "his" value must be paid for him. And so it applies to everything and everyone, so it is obviously in the nature of things.

So in the beginning there would be the value of things, and that would be the reason why we pay for them with the value of money. Their value would require that they can be bought for the equivalent in money. Even if we often wonder whether certain things "really" so much are worth how they cost, we do not question that they are worth something and therefore cost something have to. If we find that something is worth less or more than what is currently to be paid for it, we are only in doubt about the appropriate amount of the value, never about whether we, appropriately or not, have the value whose pay what we buy. So once again: Money only represents the value of things that we therefore pay for them, that seems clear - and yet it is fundamentally wrong.

Here, too, it is not a matter of a thorough refutation or of inferring the correct interpretation. But there is a simple thought that exposes what's wrong here, even if it looks all too harmless at first glance. Because nothing of value in things can really require their payment in money, because we have money for, but never at pay things.

It is not the water buffalo who stands up and collects the € 100 because he would have recognized it as his worth. It is not the bread that the transferred donation goes to. It is not the soil itself that you put money into, and it is already bearing fruit. Of course, it would also be absurd: where would bread be accounted for? What does an animal do with money? No animal or thing has the monetary value it costs. No, ask for money, accept and spend money, money use as money, only humans can do that. And they also do not hold out their hands for things, in their place and in their interest, as trustees of all that is precious in this world. Whoever collects the 100 € for the buffalo does not pass it on to the buffalo or to God or Mother Nature. The value that is demanded in money for something knows only one way: it ultimately goes to someone who demands it.

If we have to pay for some money, it is not because the value of something or whatever would require it, but only because people ask for it. And they have to do that, not because of the things, but because the money requires it. In an economy that runs on money, everyone has to get money in order to be able to live from what can be bought for it. But in order to get money, everyone has to from others demand, because money can only be obtained from others; and everyone has to For asking for something for which one of the other is willing to pay money. The buyer uses his money to get him to dispose of what he has bought. Strictly speaking, with money someone always has someone: the payer over the one he pays. With money, without exception, people have people at their disposal.

The power to do so gives them the money. This power of disposal, initially over things, but ultimately over people without exception, is the money. It is she who disguises herself in the value that we so involuntarily see in things: as if they had it in them and as if we were paying money for them for his sake and - after all, having to pay for life or death, starvation or not.

But who gives this power to money? What did she get him once? How did the money get to her? Nobody invented this power of money, and nobody ever chose it. But it is decidedly upheld today by the highest otherwise existing powers, the states. Even they cannot decide what to do with money. Therefore, there is a lot more to decide today: if money can still go on.

This text first appeared in "Merkur", issue 847/2019.