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Part One: The Nature of Money > Chapter 5. Money as an Economic Good

3. Money not a Part of Social Capital

By social or productive capital Böhm-Bawerk means the aggregate of the products intended for employment in further production.19 If we accept the views expounded above, according to which money cannot be included among productive goods, then neither can it be included in social capital. It is true that Böhm-Bawerk includes it in social capital, as the majority of the economists that preceded him had done. This attitude follows logically from regarding money as a productive good; this is its only justification, and in endeavoring to show that money is not a productive good we have implied how baseless a justification it is.

In any case, perhaps we may suggest that those writers who include money among productive goods and consequently among capital goods are not very consistent. They usually reckon money as a part of social capital in that division of their systems where they deal with the concepts of money and capital, but certain obvious further conclusions are not drawn from this. On the contrary, where the doctrine of the nature of money as capital should logically be applied it appears to have been suddenly forgotten. In reviewing the determinants of the rate of interest, writers emphasize over and over again that it is not the greater or smaller quantity of money that is of importance, but the greater or smaller quantity of other economic goods. To reconcile this assertion, which is indubitably a correct summary of the matter, with the other assertion that money is a productive good, is simply impossible.

  • 19. Ibid., Part II pp. 54 f., 130 ff.