Money is the asset with the most liquidity or the smallest spread in the economy. It means it is not a thing, but a system, a system of relations: the monetary system is in reality composed of an assemblage of different things which have been grouped together under the name “money”. Historically money does not arise from exchange, but from the taxing and funding activities of states. Furthermore, not all money is the same. When Perry Mehrling says “all banking is just a swap of IOUs”, this is exactly what he means: all money is not the same, all money is somebody’s promise to pay, all moneys are different instruments, their value depends on who you are what you can do in the network: what is behind the IOU. All moneys are in this sense social relations, social contestations.The illusion that all money (for example all United States Dollars) is equally money is maintained by monetary authorities during the “normal” operation of monetary systems. It means that the nature of the monetary system as an outcome of a social struggle (who are you, what can you do in the network) is erased: money is “put out of the question” in the sense that the configuration of the monetary system is taken off the table as an object of political negotiation and contestation. But during monetary crisis, money is “called into question” in that the differences between different moneys leaps onto the table — the difference between good moneys and bad moneys, the difference between the money of the rich and the money of the poor — and money itself, and the constitution of the monetary system, enters again to the political imagination as an object of intervention and as a vehicle for the pursuit of justice. And that is what we want to do: we want to call it into question and reengineer its protocols. So that it cannot be put away from the table. Money is, itself, a site of political struggle. Special thank you to Colin Drumm for his work on this, for more see Colin Drumm (2022): The Difference that Money Makes.

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