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Nominalistic theory of money: advantages and disadvantages

The study of the pecularities of the monetary sphere acts as one of the obligatory elements of constructing models of economic systems. A key aspect of the current concepts is the "final product", presented in the form of recommendations for the implementation of economic policy measures.

Relevance of the issue

) развивается в тесной связи с эволюцией финансовых систем. Any theory of money (metal, nominalistic, quantitative ) develops in close connection with the evolution of financial systems. It, in turn, predetermines the main shifts in the methodology and subject of research. History shows that all theories of money - metalistic, nominalistic and quantitative - arose and opposed each other, usually in connection with the need to solve specific issues, the answers to which required the improvement of economic interactions. The practical orientation of concepts, the conditionality of the current needs of the economy, separate the doctrine of the financial system from other political economic disciplines.

Metal, nominalistic theory of money

In many cases, a new concept arises on the basis of the contradictions revealed in previous hypotheses. As the creators of nominalism were medieval lawyers. Subsequently, the development of the concept was due to criticism of existing ideas. In the period of the initial accumulation of capital , a theory of metals appeared in Western European countries. Its supporters - mercantilists - believed that foreign trade was the source of the wealth of the society. Its active balance ensures the receipt of precious metals into the country. Subsequently, the adherents of the doctrine began to believe that the source of wealth was agriculture and manufactory. Nominalists, in turn, believed that money is only the ideal counting units. They serve goods exchange and act as a product of state power. Let us consider in more detail the main aspects of the nominalist theory.

General characteristics of the concept

Nominalist character was, in fact, the theory of an ideal monetary unit of measurement. Its supporters were J. Berkeley and J. Stuart. They believed that the denominations of money (franc, pound sterling, thaler, etc.) express the ideal price atoms. The only important thing is the name of the unit. капитала. Nominalistic theory denies the importance of the metal content of capital.


In the 20th century, the German scientist Knapp began to view money as a "product of law and order", the creation of the state power. He argued that they are used as a means of payment, regardless of their content. Thus, Knapp freed money from any connection with the metal, making them a symbol of signs, the solvency of which is determined by the state. In his analysis, the scientist took into account only paper bills and small coins. From the study, credit capital was excluded. This subsequently led to the failure of his concept.

Learning mistakes

Кнаппа не учитывала ряд важнейших факторов. The nominalistic theory of money Knapp did not take into account a number of important factors. The fallacy of his concept is as follows:

  1. Money is not a legal category. They act as an element of the economic system.
  2. Metal money has an independent value. It is not appointed by the state.
  3. The cost of banknotes is also not set by authority. It is conditioned by objective economic laws.
  4. As a key function is not the fulfillment of the role of means of payment, but measures of value.


As G. Bendixiken noted, money is used as a conditional sign of value and testifies to the service rendered to other members of the society. It, in turn, gives the right to receive a goodwill. In assessing the nature of money, he did not take into account the theory of value. проявились в период Первой мировой. Meanwhile, the advantages of the nominalistic theory of money appeared during the First World War. In Germany at that time there was active funding for the fighting. The concept fully corresponded to that period. показала свою несостоятельность. In the 20's, the nominalistic theory of money showed its inconsistency. The concept denies the commodity nature of finance . In the nominalistic theory of money, the functions of production are ignored. The concept does not take into account the spontaneous degeneration of capital from the commodity turnover, denies their unity.


Undoubtedly, the state has the opportunity to legislatively determine the scale of prices. However, the authorities can not determine the value of money. превращает его из экономического элемента в юридический. Assigning it the ability to create capital and determine its price, and the money - making theory of money turns it from an economic element into a legal one. The concept mixes the concepts of measure of value and cost limits. Within the framework of the theory, paper and metal money are considered to be homogeneous categories. The concept declares them as conventional signs. превозносит банкноты, рассматривая их как самую совершенную форму капитала. Moreover, the nominalistic theory of money extols banknotes, treating them as the most perfect form of capital. From this we can draw the following conclusions. Nominalistic theory of money:

  1. Denies their commodity nature.
  2. Identifies the concepts of the measure of value and the scale of prices.
  3. Does not take into account the key tasks of capital.
  4. Exaggerates the role of the state.

The concept of Keynes

At present, the proponents of the concept determine the cost of capital in accordance with the subjective assessment of its purchasing power. During the economic crisis of 1929-1933. J. Keynes developed the theory. In his Treatise, the cancellation of the gold standard is justified. Earlier money Keynes declared a relic of barbarism. Paper notes he declared ideal capital. He explained this by their greater elasticity and ability to ensure prosperity to the state. Releasing gold from circulation Keynes regarded as a victory for the concept of Knapp. At the same time he believed that the metal monetary circulation is inelastic. This was Keynes's key mistake.

Nominalistic theory of money: advantages and disadvantages

The study of the concept was carried out by P. Samuelson. In his book "Economics" money he calls conventional signs. Samuelson notes that the era of commodity capital is supplanted by paper money. Banknotes, in his opinion, personified the essence of money. He called them an artificial social convention. Today, one of the main concepts in the sphere of finance is the nominalistic theory of money. всех идей в рамках этого направления изучаются представителями других учений или нейтральными экспертами. Pros and cons of all ideas in this direction are studied by representatives of other exercises or by neutral experts. Researchers note that the concept has received wide development in connection with the increased practice of spoilage of coins. This situation took place in the Middle Ages. At that time, lawyers justified the spoiling of coins, explaining and proving that the price of money and they themselves are the product of state power. Specialists justified the right of power to impart to the spoiled and inferior units the former designation. Accordingly, the reception should not be carried out by the weight of coins, but by the state stamp. Nominalistic theory has an idealistic character. Its key negative features are the desire to replace economic patterns with individual legal regulations, as well as the failure to take into account the connection of capital with socially productive relations.

Other concepts

Until the 20th century there were 2 questions in economic theory:

  1. On the nature and origin of money.
  2. On the value and purchasing power of capital.

In political economy there were 2 directions - nominalistic and metal theories. They treated the issue of origin of capital differently. In the 20th century. The problems have changed significantly. The key issues were the role of money in reproduction, the mechanism of their influence on the growth of the economy, as well as on the state policy in the financial and credit sphere. In the 19th century, scientists took more qualitative aspects. In the 20th century, quantitative problems came to the forefront.

The classical concept of reproduction

It proceeded from the fact that in competitive conditions and with full elasticity of prices in all markets, automatic balance in the system comes. It arises without any interference from outside, with full use of productive resources. Adherents of the classical direction believed that the price of monetary metals is determined by labor costs. This principle was followed by D. Ricardo. However, he argued that the number of coins in circulation could well affect their purchasing power, as well as the value of goods. The idea of a quantitative theory was supported by the follower of Ricardo-Mill. He wrote that, under the remaining equal conditions, the price of money varies inversely with the amount. Such a view resulted from consideration of capital as a technical exchange medium. This causes the secondary role of money within the framework of classical theory.

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