Indisputably, the euro has played a pivotal role in the development of Europe. Yet, the euro has also been very controversial, raising many discussions related to the nature, role and form of the “common currency”. This paper aims at contributing to this ongoing debate from a Marxist perspective, presenting the theoretical framework of quasi-world money and examining the evolution of the euro as such, from the 1950s when the idea appeared for the first time. In particular, the paper focuses on the processes that led to the emergence of the euro as quasiworld money. These processes comprised a series of political solutions to the contradiction between the necessity of all major European countries to impose their money on the European market on the one hand, and their incompetence in doing so, on the other.
The analysis focuses on the post-war European monetary system up until the launch of the European Monetary Union. Its object is a historical monetary compromise that passed through many phases and managed to survive until the present day. The paper analyses the particular mechanisms through which the euro became a reality and points to the class interests that were satisfied in each phase. This discussion offers useful insights for the current debate that unfolds amidst a deep capitalist crisis internationally and a particular monetary crisis in the European Union.

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Up until around 2008 and the subsequent revelation of systematic manipulation, the integrity and ‘facticity’ of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) were rarely questioned. Academics treated the LIBOR and the Eurodollar market as if they were synonyms. Central bankers conducted monetary policy as if the LIBOR was an objective reflection of the money market rate. Corporates and households entered into LIBOR-indexed financial contacts as if a money market was the underlying benchmark. This paper investigates how and why the LIBOR managed to maintain its status as a term for the competitive money market colloquially, professionally and in the economic literature for so long. By adopting a theoretical framework drawn from both Political Economy and Sociology, and applying it to the LIBOR-indexed derivatives market, it is shown how the benchmark’s appearance betrays its fundamental nature. This process benefits certain actors within the market: the banks. Importantly, however, it also reveals how the LIBOR became, and remained, such an important benchmark and how it came to be perceived as an ‘objective fact’.

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The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion on the modern monetary arrangements from a Marxist perspectives, following the recent developments of the Marxist theory of world money. The paper treats the US Dollar as a primus inter pares quasi-world money and challenges the argument of the US hegemony by exploring the behavior of major capitalist states and selected developing countries, the famous BRICS, as far as their official international reserves are concerned. The findings reveal a clear pattern in the behavior of major capitalist states in terms of size and forms, although the degree varies implying a hierarchical structure of the corresponding quasi-world moneys. Although part of a vast literature on international reserves, the analysis focuses on developed countries and treats them individually. The merit of this approach is that it reveals the above mentioned pattern which is blurred when Japan is included. The results imply that current international monetary arrangements reflect and promote multipolarity and competition in the geopolitical scene, the evolution of which is historical.

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Το παρόν άρθρο συζητά τη μαρξιστική θεωρία του χρήματος με σκοπό να θέσει το έδαφος για σύγχρονες αντιπαραθέσεις. Η ανάλυση δείχνει ότι το χρήμα είναι μια απαιτητική
οικονομική κατηγορία που εξελίσσεται συνεχώς στον καπιταλισμό και για την κατανόησή της πρέπει να εξετάζεται η ενότητα τεσσάρων επιπέδων που αντιστοιχούν στη γέννηση, τον ορισμό, τις λειτουργίες και τις μορφές. Οι διάφορες μορφές και λειτουργίες έχουν διαφορετικούς νόμους κίνησης, τροχιά, ταχύτητα, καταφύγιο κλπ. και αυτά πρέπει να λαμβάνονται σοβαρά υπόψη. Η πιο θεαματική αλλαγή είναι σίγουρα η γέννηση της κεντρικής τράπεζας και η εμφάνιση της νέας μορφής χρήματος που αυτή εκδίδει, του πιστωτικού χρήματος της κεντρικής τράπεζας που σύντομα εκτοπίζει τα τραπεζογραμμάτια των εμπορικών τραπεζών και δικαίως αποκτά το προνόμιο της υποχρεωτικής κυκλοφορίας. Το διευθετημένο χρήμα είναι η κυρίαρχη μορφή χρήματος σήμερα. Η έλευση του ιμπεριαλισμού, μιας ιστορικής φάσης με συγκεκριμένα οικονομικά χαρακτηριστικά και διαδικασίες, είχε σαν αποτέλεσμα το διευθετημένο χρήμα των ιμπεριαλιστικών χωρών να μετατραπεί σε οιονεί-παγκόσμιο χρήμα.

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Distinguishing between the money that functions in the world market and the money that functions internally in an economy has troubled many theorists. This paper is informed by the Marxist approach to money in general and world money in particular and argues that the theoretical difficulty derives from a fundamental misconception with regard to the forms of money. Consequently, the paper offers an analysis of the forms of money and shows that a new form emerged as early as 1914 associated with the world market, which might be called quasi-world-money, such as the US dollar. The analysis provides a framework within which to comprehend the residual but essential role of gold in parallel to quasi-world-money. The framework also allows for money convertibility to be redefined appropriately.

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