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At the risk of potentially dragging this list further into a topic that some
may consider tangential, I am posting to this list, at the request of
Jeffrey Broadbent, a comment that I emailed to him off-list about money,
capital & social relations. My apologies to those who may consider this
outside the central focus of the list. 

 

Blyden Potts

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey Broadbent [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 11:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: RE: money & relationships

 

Please post your comments to the socnet list and then we can continue the
collective discussion. Thanks jeff

 

Jeffrey Broadbent

...

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 

Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 11:31 AM

To: 'Jeffrey Broadbent'

Cc: [log in to unmask]

Subject: RE: money & relationships

 

I rather disagree with this conceptualization.

 

If money is not a social relation, then what types of capital would you
consider to be a social relation? Are you contending that some forms of
capital ARE relations, but that money is not? Or are you trying to
distinguish capital as a relational property from something else which you
consider to be the relationship itself (i.e. saying capital, including
money, *is of* relations rather than capital *is* relations)?  

 

Certainly a dollar bill or a $ is a symbol, as is any quantity associated
with money (e.g. a bank account or credit card balance, a paycheck figure).
But these are symbols of money. They are only money to the extent they can
activate economic power (i.e. shape social, exchange relationships). 

 

Money is economic capital (i.e. economic power, that which gives capacity
for exchange), or if you prefer to distinguish money from barter then money
is the commodified form of this power, abstracted from the objects for which
it can be exchanged. 

 

Like any other form of socially significant capital, the locus of money is
in social relationships. Money is a content or type of relationship. In its
abstract, symbolic form it can be stored, but just as with the storage of
other forms of capital, this is achieved by translating money from some
relationships to other relationships. Money either in the form of social
relationships or in its stored, abstract form can be used to create or
modify other relationships. That is, it can be translated into other forms
of capital. However, the ability to translate money into other forms of
capital is not uniform, but rather the value of money (i.e. what it can be
translated into or exchanged for) depends on its activation in social
relationships, and on the overall network pattern of money relations. It is
wholly relational. 

 

Blyden Potts

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Jeffrey Broadbent

Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 10:50 AM

To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: money & relationships

 

Money in itself is not a relationship, commodified or otherwise, though it
derives from relationships.  Paper money is a symbol.  It is used to
represent and quantify the exchange values of tangible goods or services in
a diversified economy, to overcome the limits of barter.  As a symbol, money
becomes abstracted from its relational context.  It can be hoarded and
transferred, developing its own laws of motion. Some people make money into
a fetish and spend their lives in the service of its accumulation.  At that
point, if "relational" means mutual recognition and response, money is no
longer relational.  It is completely instrumental and impersonal,
dehumanizing social life.

 

Jeffrey Broadbent

...

 

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