There is a hidden war of value codes in the world today. On the one hand, there is the life code of value: Life → Means of Life → More Life (L → M of L→ L1). On the other hand, there is the money code of value: in its classical form, Money → Commodity → More Money ($ C → $1). In its carcinogenic form, this sequence becomes: Money → More Money → More Money ($ → $1 $2  $n). The latter money sequence of value is decoupled from any commitment to life function and is driven by the lending and investment cycles of banks. This paper demonstrates the carcinogenic properties of this sequence at the social level of life-organization.

The second part of the paper proposes a remedy. The first step consists in making the government-conferred privileges of banks – creating money by credit and lending others’ money stocks at compound interest – accountable to society’s life requirements. The second step consists in returning central banks to their constitutional mandate of lending to governments rather than alienating this function to private banks. The article concludes by arguing that the great obstacle to Canada’s and other countries’ economic well-being is the abdication by governments of their sovereign powers over society’s money supply, and the long cultivation of public ignorance on this ultimate issue of public policy and value decision.

John McMurtry
Department of Philosophy
University of Guelph

Bank of Montreal Distinguished Visitor Lecture, Trent University, March 13, 1997. Read More

The Economics Of Life And Death (Boston, 1991) by Prof John McMurtry

ABSTRACT: This paper begins with an explanation of the “life sequence of value,” which is defined by the formula Life->Means of Life->More Life (L->MofL->L1). The analysis then contrasts this general sequence of value to the “money sequence of value,” which is shown to have three autonomous forms not before distinguished: (1) Money->Means of Life->More Money ($->MofL->$1); (2) Money->Means of Life Destruction->More Money ($->MofD->$1); (3) Money->More Money->More Money ($->$1->$2->$3->$n). I explain how the first money sequence of value, analyzed by Marx in his classical formula of industrial capital (M->C->M1), has mutated so that the standard sequence of (1) assumed by economists has, in fact, been increasingly displaced by sequences (2) and (3). The argument shows that these sequences of economic “growth” increasingly dismantle environmental and civil life-fabrics, but remain unproblematic to the dominant economic paradigm whose measures of value do not register life-losses in their value accounts. It is concluded that a regrounding of economic understanding in the life sequence of value is required to avoid a cumulative breakdown in the conditions of social and planetary existence.

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