The Transition from Commodity-Money to Credit-Money
In the last two chapters we analyzed essential characteristics of our capitalist market economy: the mobilization of economic activities in the form of interdependent monetary circuits; the investment of money as capital for accumulation purposes; the coexistence of "industrial" and "financial" forms of money-capital; and the unstable (business-cycle and long-wave) dynamics of their expansion. This analysis makes it clear that money plays a crucial role in our economy.
We can now proceed to see how money creation, credit financing, and production activities interrelate as an organizing force in the accumulation process to shape a given growth pattern. The precise configuration of this triangular relation depends on a variety of institutions and policies regulating money and credit. Together these form a distinct substructure of the prevailing accumulation regime, the so-called monetary regime.1 We start this chapter by first defining at greater length what such a monetary regime consists of and how it is supposed to work. Then we analyze its historic evolution in the United States, with special emphasis on the gradual crowding out of the gold standard by credit-money.
The monetary regime, a crucial institutional form of any given accumulation regime (see section 3.4), includes several distinct and interrelated dimensions.
1) The Money-Creation Process. Given the strategic role of money (as income and capital) in our economy, the modalities of its creation are bound to have a major impact. If certain private agents were able to create their own money and impose it as a socially accepted medium of exchange, they would