Books and documents:
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà, Brauli Tamarit Tamarit.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Magdalena Grau, Agustí Chalaux.
Chapter 5. Premises for a rational monetary instrument.
- This chapter's goals.
- Documentary metric systems.
- Measuring units.
- The measuring proceedings.
- The measuring documents.
1. This chapter's goals.
In this chapter we will take an approach to the smallest indispensable
bases to have a rational system, starting from the idea that it is a metric
The principles will be later applied to the set-up of a new monetary
instrument, in a position to clear the monetary relations and to give new
strength to the market.
2. Documentary metric systems.
As we have already seen in the previous chapter,
the defining character of money systems is that of building up an abstract
measuring system to measure the exchange value of the goods in a given
Therefore, we could talk about a rational money system as long as we
have an authentic metric system, that is a system which gives faithful
images, isolated from reality.
The minimal necessary elements for an effective metric system are the
A measuring unit rigorously defined, of a radically conventional-abstract
A measuring process to allow in practice the act of measuring: that
is to allot a given and exact number of money units to every elemental
A measuring document to record every elemental measuring act, in
order that every qualified person can repeat this operation, control its
correctness and at the same time to allow an analytical-statistical treatment
at a later date of the total measurements effected.
In the case of the money system, it is necessary to have together the three mentioned
elements. We will now examine them one at a time, with respect to money systems.
3. Measuring units.
The measuring units invented to measure the dimensions of any phenomenon,
are completely abstract ideas and their creation is absolutely arbitrary.
The only condition to be fulfilled is that the definition of units must
be very exact and rigorous.
The length unit, for example, is the meter. At the beginning it was
defined as «the distance of the ten millionth part of the quadrant
of the earth meridian». But at present, as we advance towards a greater
accuracy and abstraction of units, there is a preference to define a meter
as «the length of the journey made in empty space by flat electro-magnetic
waves in 1/299,792,458 seconds».
In the market science, the dimension or value which must mainly be measured
is the exchange value of real goods. The unit for measuring this
value is the money unit, which, because every State produces its
own, has different names in different states. Let us remember that, in
ancient times, every country used to define also its own units of length,
weight, volume... However, money units are very special measuring units,
because they are not fixed. As a matter of fact, the exchange value
of real goods is not always the same, it is not identical in different
situations of time and space. The distance between Barcelona and Madrid
is always the same; but the price of a liter of wine is not the same in
Madrid and Barcelona, nor is it the same to-day and ten years ago, as it
varies in time and space as a result of a number of very complicated causes
which we are not going to analyse now.
Since the reality to be measured is variable, the money unit is also
variable: there is no invariable outer constant with respect to which the
value of the money unit can be defined. Therefore the definition of money
unit is not fixed, as it varies according to changes in the exchange value
of the real goods it measures.
As a consequence the money unit cannot be defined with respect to a
given privileged merchandise, but in a given geopolitical space it must
be defined according to the whole number of goods which circulate in every
time period under consideration.
4. The measuring proceedings.
After accurately defining a measuring unit, a way must be found to measure
in practice concrete phenomena in which a given person may have an interest.
To take a measurement is to count the number of abstract units which
are conventionally attributed to any real phenomenon, in accordance with
the given definition.
In the case of length units, everybody knows the «meter»,
the «rulers» and many other instruments and measuring techniques,
which constitute the measuring proceedings.
In the case of money units, the only imaginable system to measure the
exchange value of a real merchandise is the actual exchange,
the free monetary exchange contract brought about by two market agents.
The liberty of the market play produces the prices and salaries attributed
to every real merchandise, in the very moment when the sale-purchase operation
is brought about.
Prices and salaries are mixed values, concrete-abstract,
which are produced by every measuring operation, every inter-comparison
between the real merchandise to be measured and the abstract measuring
And paradoxically it is the whole prices and salaries fixed in a given
space-time which can, by an inverse operation to this fixing, define the
value of the money unit -called money- in this space-time, since
the value of the money unit can only be defined as its average ability
of purchase in every given space-time.
5. The measuring documents.
The last requisite condition of every effective and scientific metric
system is that every measuring act brought about must be well documented
and personalized, both to verify its validity, and to be able to use elemental
results to obtain statistics and analysis of the observed global sectorial
whole or sub-whole.
Therefore, every measuring act of the exchange value of real goods -that
is every elemental mercantile exchange- must also be fully documented.
As we have already seen in chapter 2, in
a rational money system, this documentation is effected automatically thanks
to the monetary instruments-documents. They are instruments because
they are used to make exchange easy; but they are also documents because
they are a record of every elemental mercantile operation effected through
There are two minimal conditions which can be demanded of an exact documentation:
first, that every measuring act should produce its own document; and second,
that this document should be complete, that is it should record all the
relevant facts which occur in the measuring act under consideration.
Especially here the present money system is at fault: because there
is a lack of the proper documentation.
In the money systems which are in force, instruments-documents are coins
and scriptural instruments, as we know. But all these instruments are of
a nature essentially anti-documentary. Rather than documenting, we might
say they conceal reality, because of the following reasons:
Mobility: they do not show only one elemental mercantile operation,
as they are used for lots of exchanges: they circulate in the market indefinitely,
playing their instrumental role in an unknown number of elemental exchanges.
Because of this permanent mobility, it is impossible to establish exactly
each of the elemental exchange operations effected.
Uniformity: present monetary instruments, especially paper money
on which all others are based, are identical to each other. Paper money
changes only with respect to the number of money units represented, but
gives no information with respect to special details of each elemental
exchange effected. It does not say what has been exchanged, nor
or when... This uniformity hinders any attempt to an exact analysis
of the complex and flowing mercantile reality.
Anonymity: finally, most of present day monetary instruments are
anonymous, that means they do no say who are the agents in a mercantile
exchange or in a monetary act whatsoever. Therefore, they do not allow
the attribution of responsibility to the monetary agents, especially if
we are talking of paper money. From this point of view, paper money is
not only un-statistical and un-analytical, but also and first of
all a-social, as it allows to effect all sorts of monetary operations without
leaving any personalizing and compelling evidence in the face of Justice.
Even if the three above-mentioned properties can be rightly applied only
to paper money and coins, it must not be forgotten that scriptural bank
instruments are also essentially un-documentary, even if at first sight
it might not seem so.
As a matter of fact a signature on a cheque, a name, a number of account...
are, to-day, identifying items. But the documentation provided is very
partial, for several reasons:
in the first place, many cheques are «to the bearer», and therefore
they only identify one of the agents of the monetary exchange.
in the second place, the information given is usually considered as a «bank
secret» reserved to privileged groups and sectors: it is never made
finally, because of the secondary nature of the bank-scriptural documents,
they can always be converted into completely anonymous bank notes, by simply
asking to do so, and therefore the identifying documentary mark is lost.
Therefore, bank scriptural documents are potentially documentary;
but they will not be fully such while they exist together and are
to a system of anonymous and undocumentary monetary instruments.
The money system in its whole will not be a fully documentary and informative
system until an identifying instrument becomes the only legal and
monetary instrument, completed in every single elemental operation and
One of the minimal conclusions, necessary to any metric system, that
of possessing elemental, thorough and identifying measuring documents,
is not fulfilled by present day money systems.
In consequence, it cannot be a good metric system. We therefore need
to create a monetary instrument in a position to be a reliable guaranty
of an exact measurement, and fully documentary of the exchange value of
all and each of the exchanged goods in a given market.
This new instrument will not be very different from present scriptural-bank
instruments; but it will fulfill the traits which are now only potential,
and will eliminate its metric-documentary imperfections.