Those who insist that property must be productive and must have an economic function, should immediately agree that no property may be spoiled in the hands of the owner. Labor theorists have argued that property never can get big enough, so long as the owner eats the fruits of 'er property before they have rotted. (Luckily, such theorists of property cannot get away with their spoil.) However, this does not leave the owners with the unbearable burden of having to eat all the fruits of their estates, or with the equally unbearable burden of having to give away for nothing what they cannot eat themselves. The solution is simple: barter away your plums for nuts. And then, exchange your nuts, which will eventually wither too, for a pretty piece of metal. Let then the community or the state impress the shape of an official nut on it, and thou hast 'money'. It is this very money which human beings can keep without spoiling and which they will take 'by mutual consent in exchange for the truly useful but perishable supports of life'. Such is the story of the birth of money in a nutshell; at least, in one part of the world, for in other parts of the world it is the shell which played the role of the nut.

As has been correctly pointed out, all limits on private appropriation are made ineffective as soon as the above labor theorists consent to the employment of money, which unlike plums and land, can be accumulated without restraint. And altho it is mentioned that money can be exchanged for the 'truly useful', money has become an end in itself for but too great a host of people. The nonproductive, nonfunctional, but nice things which can be done with it, or which have to be forgone for it, play, then, no part anymore. If 'e does not restrain 'imself, the bourgeois person living under the natural-rights regime may thus become an infinite appropriator suffering from one of the most unnatural of diseases: 'acquisitis'.

Now, making money is one thing, believing that making money has nothing to do with rights and duties, or morality, another. There are those who indeed seriously maintain that making money in business and acting morally are two different things which are incompatible. In their eyes the pecuniary or financial could and would be completely separated from the moral. This, of course, is rubbish. Money inherently presupposes norms or rights and duties. We have seen how money could only come into existence because people (supposedly) had a right in something, whether it be in their fruits, their nuts, their shells or something else. And the exchange of the goods concerned (money or otherwise) could solely take place by mutual consent. But this requirement of mutual consent is a moral requirement since those strong enough could just take what they wanted; they would not need any money.

Without morality coins would hardly be worth their metal content, and banknotes would hardly be worth the paper they are printed on. It is only because of a promise to pay the bearer in gold or other goods that bills in particular are of any significance. And it is only because of people fulfilling their duties, that is, their recognition of the rights of people possessing the bills, that they are worth anything. Making money does not mean making pieces of paper or metal in this context; it means that a person will receive goods in return as other persons keep their promises. The first 'person' to keep 'er promise in this respect is the government or agency by whose authority the money is issued. If this agency does not take the moral rights of the people who hold its banknotes and coins seriously, and cannot be relied upon, then its money is plainly worthless. (Obviously, this is not to say that a certain agency might not be able to do what it ought to do.)

But granting that making money presupposes rights and duties, could being paid in kind perhaps be wholly separated from acting morally? No, it could not either. Only if people would transfer goods at exactly the same moment from A to B, and from B to A, could they do without any sort of explicit or implicit promise and without any need of keeping promises. This kind of doing business nonmorally would make business practically impossible tho, modern business first of all. Except maybe for its most primitive variant, business solely exists because of morality, because of the acknowledgment of particular rights and duties. The use of money which is so typical of doing business is the use of it as a medium of exchange. The person who 'has' it, has the right to use it as such, and to exclude nonowners from using it in the same way. 'Having money' is thus in this sense merely a kind of property, and therefore a sort of right.

The question remains: What is or are the most plausible normative justifications for having a certain amount of money, for claiming a right to an income, for not owning other people or their bodies, and for being the sole proprietor of all parts of one's own body?. This question must be tackled now, even tho we cannot answer it here from an own doctrinal, non-metadoctrinal position, as we have so far merely acquired the most general and abstract of instruments. Yet, we must have some idea beforehand of what our property is in order to be able to proceed freely with the work on our own system of disciplinary thought.

©MVVM, 41-57 ASWW

Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Things Possessed and Not Possessed