Xenomoney: From Promise to Tautology
One thirty-fifth of an ounce of gold for a dollar. The treasury was obliged. Till 1973, when the US Government canceled. Such obligation. Since then exact resemblance for exact resemblance, exact same bill for exact same bill. And nothing, neither gold nor silver, in back of the mirror. (If there had been would it reveal scenes of Vietnam? Reasons of the fourfold increase in the price of oil?)
Cut loose from any fixed equivalence, the dollar sets sail and floats off-shore on market forces. Into uncertain foreign waters and computer screens. Xenomoney.
No more physical reality of a country to guarantee it. Xenomoney belongs to international business that trumps princes and States. No history or traceable origin. Like zero outside 'natural' language. Anonymous. A bubble from no sinking ship.
Here creditor does not know debtor. Though they are joined together in one long chain. He cannot examine balance sheets of every link. He can only bite his fingernails. And remember a river in Poland or New Jersey.
Of course it's long since money went beyond being pure medium of exchange and infiltrated the category of "goods." Itself bought and sold. Both object and medium, thing and token, commodity and sign for a commodity, it signifies itself. As if a photograph could not only lose its reference to your dead wife but make you forget what is a face.
No more "grounding" of money signs in some prior, natural thing. Just as zero did for numbers—what "thing" could zero possibly refer to? Though Mesopotamia is split crosswise and dollarwise.
Money now creates its own significance. In the only terms available to it. Money is time. And can be bought as a financial future. According to qualities that are precisely not according. And are thought to burn open sexual parts.