What's the Money?

Posted by GwanSiu on February 13, 2020

1. What’s Money?

I accpet the concept in Minsky’s book [1], “Money can be anything that is generally accepted as a payment for goods or services or in repayment of debts”. The narrow definition of money is currency(i.e. paper money and coin), which is distinct from demand deposit, and wealth. Wealthe denotes all collections of securities including currency that intrinsically have store value. To be noted the difference between income and money. Income indicates the a flow of earnings per unit of time, while money is stock, which is a certain amount at a given point in time.

2. The Function of Money

  • Medium of exchange: In a barter economy, to use money can greatly reduce the trasaction cost, and improve the efficiency by eliminating multiple exchange of goods and services. Money as the medium of exchange should satisfy five conditions:
    • It must be easily standardized, making it simple to ascertain its value.
    • it must be widely accepted.
    • it must be divisible, so that it is easy to “make change”.
    • it must be easy to carry.
    • it must not deteriorate quickly
  • Unit of account
  • Store of value. It means that the purchasing power remain stable over the time. Money has the most liquidity compared with other assets, because it is a medium of exchanges. That is the reason why people would like hold the money during the financial crisis, even though other assets have more store value than money owns.
  • Standard of deferred payment. There are some detail explanations from the course《货币银行学》[1]
    • 货币作为价值形式独立存在
    • 作为支付手段的货币更多的反应的是债权和债务的关系
    • 货币作为支付手段使生产者活动余地更大
    • 潜藏着使社会再生产过程发生中断的可能性

3. The Evoluation of the Paymenets System

Metallism and Chartalism are two economics branches. Specifically, Metallism belives that the value of money derived from the purchasing power of the commodity upon which it is based, e.g. gold and silver, while Chartalism hold an opinion that money is a creation of the state, or the king.(国家信用货币) It means that the money is a country creidt. The quintessential form of money is fiat money, and cost nothing to produce. I will talk about it late, when we discuss the exchange rate of money.

3.1 Commodity Money

Commodity money is the money make up of precious metals, e.g. gold and silver, or other valuable commodity. In ancient, most of countries use commodity money. The well-known one is the gold standard.

3.2 Evoluated Path of Money

Commodity Money —> Fiat Money —> Checks —> Electronic Payment —> E-money

3.1 金本位制度

世界上大多数国家都经历过金本位制,其中最具有代表性是英国于1816年通过《金本位制度法案》(Gold coin standard system) 确立了金本位制度,一直到1930年。

  • 金币本位制的内容:
    • 以一定数量和橙色的金币作为本位货币,市场上有金币直接流通;
    • 金币可以自由铸造,自由熔化,自由输出输入,具有无线偿还能力。
    • 银行券和辅币可以自由兑换成金币。 金币本位制对维持一国物价水平稳定,国际收支平衡;使一国的对外汇率保持稳定;推动经济快速发展具有重要作用。
  • 金块本位制(Gold bullion standard system): 也叫生金本位制,是以金块为基础的纸币。
    • 金币停止流通,以银行券代替金币流通。
    • 银行券不能自由兑换黄金,只能按照规定的含金量在一定数额,一定用途内兑换金块。如,英国在1925年规定银行券每次兑现至少要1700英镑。
  • 金汇本位制(Gold exchange standard): 也叫虚金本位制,以外汇兑换黄金。1922年热那亚会议主要内容
    • 金币停止流通,以银行券代替金币流通。
    • 银行券不能在国内兑换黄金,只能兑换外汇,然后用外汇在外国兑换成黄金。(银行券–> 外汇 –> 金币)

3.2 纸币本位制度

背景: 二战后,由于经济发展的需要和黄金的匮乏,各国相继放弃金本位制度,停止以纸币兑换黄金,实行以国家信用为依据的纸币制度。

纸币制度是一种不能兑换黄金,取消黄金保证,凭借国家信用,通过信用渠道发行和流通的纸币制度。(Fiat money)

纸币本位制度的特点:

  • 中央银行发行纸币为本位货币,政府铸币为辅币。
  • 纸币不可兑换金银,国家赋予无限法偿能力。
  • 自由本位制度,纸币发行量可自由变动,与黄金无关。
  • 管理纸币本位制度: 价值和汇率的稳定都取决于货币供应体系的有效挂你和调节控制。

优点:

  1. 货币供应,可根据需要作出调节。
  2. 通过调节货币,可对经济和国际收支进行调节。
  3. 纸币制作成本低,便于流通和携带。

缺点:

  1. 不稳定,往往容易超量发行纸币,导致纸币贬值。
  2. 各国货币对外汇率变化波动大,影响到国际贸易和资本流通。

3.3 布雷顿森林体系

1944年7月,世界各国在美国New Hampshire州召开联合国货币金融会议,即:布雷顿森林会议。该会议是世界金融体系建立的标志,确立以美元的金块本位制+其他国家货币的金汇兑本位制相结合的虚金本位货币体系。

  • 美元与黄金挂钩。
  • 各国货币与美元挂钩。
  • 各国货币必须与美元保持固定汇率。

在欧洲经济复苏后,美国的国际收支贸易赤字逐渐扩大,固定汇率制度开始松动,长期的贸易逆差导致美国的黄金大量外流。美国的尼克森总统于1971年8月15日宣布美元贬值且美元停止兑换黄金,布雷顿森林体系宣告崩溃。

现在的国际金融制度依旧是以美元为主的,浮动汇率与固定汇率并存,但并无实体挂钩的货币制度。

4. Measuring Money

M1 = C + D. C: currency, including paper money and coin. D: demand deposit, 指活期存款,也可以指签发支票的存款类别。M1是狭义的货币量指标,是央行的主要调控目标之一。 M2 = M1 + S + T. S: Savings, 表示银行的储蓄存款。 T: time deposits. 表示定期存款,一般是指有利息的短期存款。 M3 = M2 + Dn. Dn: Non-bank financial institution’s deposit. 表示非金融机构的存款。 M4 = M3 + L. L: 银行和非银行金融机构所有的短期信用工具。