Recently, the journal “Capitalism, Nature, Socialism” published an article by Andreas Exner on the relation between degrowth and demonetization. The paper highlights the limits of common conceptions of a market economy withoug capitalism and rather argues for demonetization as promoted by the platform demonetize.it
Money, by definition the dominant form of wealth, does not satisfy any sensual need but is pure social power – an abstract form of wealth. Thus, moneymaking has no inherent limitation, and agents in a market economy prefer profit to mere cost coverage. In this type of economy, money necessarily is the marker for success in status competition and is required for participation in wealth. Economic agents thus compete for money, from which the endless accumulation of profits and the drive for economic growth follow.
Money, markets, and exchange are not superhistorical features of society. On the contrary, the market economy, which is centered on exchange, was created by force together with the capital relation, i.e. wage labor, and state power. Before the capitalist mode of production became dominant, exchange was not a decisive form of societal metabolism. Instead, reciprocity, redistribution, and subsistence were central.
The organic relation between money, market, and capital is evident on the level of the logical structure of the capitalist mode of production as analyzed by Karl Marx. It can further be illustrated by real socialism and conceptions of market socialism. Degrowth consequently requires demonetization. Money, markets, and exchange must be transcended without relying on state power to achieve this “great transformation”.