Money and Power II: Command
We buy the things we need to live or what we want in our lives with money. They cost money, so we have to pay money for them. They are worth the money that we pay for them, and we pay this money for them because they are worth it, because it is their value. Money is thus the value of the things and therefore we must pay money for them. So it seems. But it is not.
Nothing that we must pay for itself requires the payment
The thing never demands its value that we must pay for it. Nothing that we must pay for itself requires the payment. Rather, people require it unfailingly and invariably, only people. We pay people for something that we get from them; we never pay this something itself. People ask for money for something – and in our money-mediated society they must claim it. They are forced to get money in order to acquire those things that they need to live or want in their lives.
Because for all this, in turn, others are forced to need money in the same way. So everyone – as a matter of life and death – is himself forced to sell something in order to be able to ask money for it. Only accordingly can he get the money he needs to live. He himself, like everyone else, only gets money from other people, from those others who pay him for what they may buy from him. He must be happy if they do buy something from him, but only because for better or worse he depends on it.
Money is the power over the work of others
Money’s dominance forces every individual worldwide to sell something in order to buy something. Those who have at their command enough possessions can live out their lives selling them piece by piece. But that’s the rarest of cases under the rule of money. There are more or less two possibilities here. The first and most frequent is the person sells her- or himself, not as a person – that would be slavery – but instead sells what he can do. That means he works for the money that others pay him. He grants them the command over what he does and achieves, and after all he has to grant them this control in order to get what he needs to live.
The other option is to pay just such people for their work, to command them and gain authority over what they do, in order to be able in turn to sell what they produce.
When sold, however, the payments made and worked for are once again transformed into money, to again gain command over things or services that others have achieved. Money is and remains the power over the work of others.