Social and cultural functions of money
Economists distinguish the various functions of money: the means of exchange, calculation, payment and accumulation, measures of value, the comparison of the comparative value of benefits, and so on. Sociologists are interested in social and cultural functions of money, various manifestations of their influence on social relations, the nature of social action and people's behavior, value orientations and a picture of the world. Among the social functions of money, the most important is integrative, which is implemented at the macro level in the establishment of universal social ties, and at the micro level as a mechanism for integrating the individual into society and its social identification. Integrative function is associated with social emancipation and the formation of egalitarian relations, the establishment of distant social ties and relations of trust.
Among the socio-cultural functions of money, communicative and rationalizing are of particular importance. The communicative function of money is expressed in their ability not only to establish social ties, but also to carry information not only economic but also social. Rationalization of social practices and world paintings contributes to the formation of a culture of modern society.
Money in social integration
Most researchers of the social functions of money emphasize their integrating function in modern society.
By the definition of F. Tönnies, modern society, as opposed to the traditional community, is the coexistence of an independent friend from a friend of people, where they are separated, despite of any natural connections. Virtually the only real integrating force is in exchange and money as a means of exchange. Money is the basis of society and its essence, turning a mass of disunited individuals into a social whole: "in paper money society produces his own concept and puts it into circulation, giving him a certain course. " In money, society realizes itself and objectifies this awareness, and the rate of the national currency at a certain stage of historical development becomes the most important indicator not only of the state of the national economy, but of society as a whole.
The peculiarity of social ties established by money is their universality. Money is able to connect everyone and everything with everything, because they themselves do not have any qualitative certainty, "they become so alien to this world that the most remote from each other things find a common ground in them and come into contact with each other & quot ;. The world, the links in which are mediated by money, is much larger and more diverse than the world, based on natural, interpersonal or ideological connections. Traditional community consumes only what is produced inside it; with the introduction of market relations, people get access to what goes beyond its immediate framework - any goods and products, any information, services, transfers - anything that can be bought for money.
Money, because of its abstractness and universality, forms and reproduces relations of universalism, has the ability to equalize people. The language of money is understandable to everyone and everywhere, like music and mathematics, they do not need in translators and intermediaries. To all subjects with money, the benefits and resources become equally accessible, while within the traditional community they are accessible only to those who are personally integrated into it: one can not obtain land without being a member of the community, produce goods without being a member of the workshop , access to power is not enjoyed by representatives of "low" estates and so on. In order to have any blessings or opportunities, it is necessary first to enter the corresponding community, to assume personal obligations, while in a society based primarily on exchange, it is simply enough to have money.
Thus, money performs the function of social emancipation. thanks to money there is a personal liberation of the individual from the mass of social, moral, ideological connections, his way to satisfaction of any desires and needs is simplified. On this basis, G. Simmel gives money the meaning of an emancipating force: "They allow the existence of relations between people without personally affecting them." Thus, in the "archaic", "non-market" societies, sociocultural identity precedes access to goods, and in "market" - Money establishes a person's connection with the objective world, bypassing its identity. They even form the identity of a person and integrate it into society.
Money creates the preconditions for integration of the individual into society. Everyone who has money can find a place in modern society, and poverty is terrible not just the ultimate poverty of existence, but also the fact that instantly turns a person into an outcast, standing outside society.
It is widely known G. Simmel's remark that money is the "homeland of the bereaved". Possession of money allows you to enter into social relations, establish communication, otherwise impossible. This property of money explains, in particular, the phenomenon of entrepreneurial activity of ethnic and religious minorities that has long been known to sociologists. After all, even if a taboo is imposed on communication with such minorities, if religion or custom prescribes to despise and avoid them, the need for money forces them to contact and maintain relations with them.
In addition, for those who integrate into society through money, they are also the most important means of social identification and self-identification. The possession of money is issued by a special community of people and is a pass in esoteric circle of the initiated, opposing all the rest, including the national and religious majority. In a way of self-identification, money is determined by personality properties - of that social type that specializes in their accumulation. Thus, the French sociologist S. Moscovici notes that "financial" minorities themselves acquire the properties inherent in money - indifference to the cultural and social characteristics of the environment and high mobility. Money as such is everywhere at home, without barriers in its path; Moreover, the process of their circulation requires constant spatial mobility and forces the individual to move quickly to where higher profits are expected. As money grows in the process of turnover, its acceleration requires the individual to increase the intensity of his life, "squeeze" time, producing a greater number of operations per unit.
Money as a universal form of communication gives the person of modern society one more feature - his own universality and complexity. Here we mean not the wealth of spiritual life, creative potential, etc., that we are accustomed to understand in everyday speech under the complexity of the individual, but the need and ability to focus on various goals and perform different, unrelated roles. To the place of an integral, integrated person of a traditional community, which only became its employee, owner and owner, and entered into friendly, family, power and other relations, and for which production is inseparable from consumption, labor - from leisure, private life - from the public, etc., comes a partial individual who does not give himself up to any business and no goal, alternately acting as an employee, then as an owner, then as a spouse and a parent, then as a voter, etc.
By making equally accessible individuals and close, and long-distance social connections, money increases the value of long-distance ties to the detriment of others. Modern people are more likely to establish contacts with the most distant subjects, shielding themselves from the risk of excessive proximity and leaving the opportunity to interrupt relations at any time. It is precisely in the environment of distant relations that monetary rationality flourishes: a person who is not bound by stable moral and psychological obligations and emotions is free to acquire, multiply, save money.
Money updates trust as the basis for a person's relationship with them as an abstract expert system. This trust is not connected with the subjects of a specific relationship or with a certain monetary unit, but with money in general, which is universally and unconditionally recognized as a universal equivalent, a means of realizing any goals, achieving any desires. But trust in money in general is fundamentally different from trust and belief in the traditional sense, since it always carries a consciousness of the risk associated with specific money - with currency fluctuations, the collapse of exchange quotations, the collapse of banks, the machinations of unscrupulous dealers, etc. Confidence in money and investing in them all the hopes and expectations, while simultaneously realizing the constant risks associated with them, forms in the modern person a constant alertness, a habit of monitoring the financial situation and a willingness to respond regardless of his profession and even the amount of money.
Since money is the most universal and abstract means of establishing social ties, it is possible to coordinate the efforts of many different people and organizations, to switch from direct exchanges and relations with close agents to generalized exchanges and long-distance ties, then trust in money is closely related to trust in money social institutions and agents. Mistrust of the state, its economic course, its ability to control voluntaristic and mercenary actions of financial businessmen, as well as doubts about political and social stability, also undermines trust in money. In situations of growth of such distrust, people tend to transfer money to real estate, valuables (precious metals, etc.), durable goods.
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