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[xmca] Ceci n'est pas un dollar

On Sun, 16 Oct 2011, Andy Blunden wrote:

   * * *
About the thought of my dollar bill and the dollar bill in my pocket. This comes from Kant actually, and it is posed in terms of 100 thalers (you can google it), and has been the subject of argument ever since, with Hegel weighing in and Slavoj Zizek as well. And someone (was it Engels?) making the point: what would happen if Kant showed the 100 thalers to someone from a different country where thalers were not money? The question is two-fold: (1) about the difference between the thought of something and its actual existence, even for you privately, and (2) the difference between a personal belief and an ideal which is shared by an entire community. Quite practically, if I go out the door to go into the city thinking I have a 2-dollar coin in my pocket to pay the tram fare, it matters very much to me if, when I get on the tram and put my hand in my pocket I find that I am mistaken. I would not be impressed and nor would the ticket inspector, and finally, if I forgot that I was actually in Paris, nor would M. Inspector des billets, even if I did find a 2-dollar coin in my pocket.


Of course, neither the thought of the dollar bill nor the paper dollar bill itself is actually a DOLLAR.

a DOLLAR is a measure of value used for exchange, keeping accounts, etc.

And monetary value is not an altogether different kind of affair than semantic value or phonemic value -- i.e., Saussure's "valeur."

An excellent source on such matters is the work of David Graeber
(see http://www.amazon.com/David-Graeber/e/B001IQXM5K/ ), who also happens to be one of the instigators of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In his latest book on Debt, Graeber argues that Adam Smith's fable about the orgins of money is completely unsupported by any history or anthropology. Graeber's work is full of examples that could be used for exploring issues in this thread.
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