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Četvrtak, 20 Maj 2021 11:23

Georg Simmel: The Money Equivalent of Personal Values Istaknut

Book cover design for The Philosophy of Money Book cover design for The Philosophy of Money

The importance of money within the system of appreciation is measurable by the development of the money fine. We first encounter in this area, as its most peculiar manifestation, the atonement of murder by payment of money an occurrence so frequent in primitive cultures that it makes specific examples unnecessary, at least for its simplest and most direct form. Less appreciated, however, is not so much the frequency as the intensity with which the relationship between human value and money value dominates legal conceptions.

In early Anglo-Saxon England a wergild-the atonement of murder by a money payment, a manbote-was even attached to killing the king; a law set it at 2,700 shillings. Such a sum was, for that period, totally imaginary and impossible to obtain. Its real meaning was that, in order to compensate for the deed, the murderer and his whole family had to be sold into slavery, though even then, as one interpreter of the law suggests, the difference remained so large that-as a mere money debt!-it could be cleared only by death. Only by resorting to the money fine was it possible to fix upon the person the magnitude of the crime. Thus within the same culture, at the time of the Seven Kingdoms, the typical wergild for an ordinary free man was 200 shillings and that of members of other estates was calculated according to this norm either infractions or multiples. This indicates, in a different manner, the way in which money provided a quantitative concept of the value of human beings. Thus one finds, even at the time of the Magna Carta, the statement that the knight, baron, and earl relate to each other as shilling, mark, and pound, since these are the proportions of their escheat-a conception that is as typical as its basis is inaccurate. For it illustrates that the tendency to reduce the value of man to a monetary expression is so powerful that it is realized even at the expense of objective accuracy. This tendency not only makes money the measure of man, but it also makes man the measure of the value of money. From time to time, we come across a monetary unit as the sum to be paid for homicide. According to Grimm, the 'perfect skillan' means: I have killed or wounded, therefore I have become penitent. The solidus was the basic fine according to which payments were calculated in the common law. On the basis of the meaning of 'skillan' we can assume that the word 'shilling' means a simple fine. The value of the human being is considered here so be the principle of classification for the monetary system and as the determinate basis for the value of money. This is similar to the situation where the standard rate of wergild among the bedouin-whom Mohammed incorporated into Islam-is one hundred camels, and this rate is at the same time used as the typical ransom money for prisoners and also as dowry money. The same role of money is in evidence where fines are imposed not only for murder but for any offence. In the Merovingian period, the solidus was no longer 40 but was only 12 denari. One may speculate that the reason for this change was that the fine at that time imposed according to solidi should be reduced and it was decreed that whenever a solidus was required the fine should be no longer 40 but 12 denari. From this there evolved the solidus fine of 12 denari which finally became the generally accepted one. And it is reported that in the Palau Islands any kind of payment is simply called a fine. Here it is not the different coins that determine the scale against which the relative seriousness of the offence is measured, but rather the contrary, that the valuation of the offence creates a measure for establishing money value.

Source: The Philosophy of Money by Georg Simmel, Imprint Routledge

 

Pročitano 269 puta Poslednji put izmenjeno Petak, 21 Maj 2021 11:13

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