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Talcott Parsons on Money - Dictionary of Arguments

Habermas IV 395
Money/Medium/Parsons/Habermas: According to Parsons, money as a communication medium must have four groups of characteristics: 1. structural characteristics: Money has the properties of a code that can be used to transfer information. The money medium allows to generate and communicate symbolic expressions with a built-in preference structure. They can inform us about an offer and make us accept it. Here, however, acceptance must not be based on an affirmative statement on a criticizable claim to validity. Therefore, the media code only applies to a delimited class of standard situations.
These are defined by interests.
The action orientations of the participants are defined by a generalized value.
The other (alter) can basically choose between two alternative positions.
The sender (ego) can control these statements through offers.
The actors are only oriented towards the consequences of actions.
Habermas IV 396
By switching to media-controlled interactions, the actors gain new degrees of freedom. See Degrees of freedom/Parsons.
Habermas IV 396
2. Quality characteristics: the medium must be of such quality,that if it is measured and sold in any kind of scale, it can be stored.
Habermas IV 397
Medium/Parsons: is both measurement and storage of the value. While a linguistic utterance receives a measurable information value only in relation to the context-dependent information status of the sender ((s) sic, actually of the receiver), media must embody measurable value sets to which, irrespective of particular contexts, all participants can refer to as an objective quantity.
3. Structure of claim and redemption: Money is neither a good nor a production factor, it symbolizes amounts in value. But it has no intrinsic value as a medium.
Habermas IV 398
While reasons are redeemed in communicative action, in the case of the money medium the nominal claims defined by the code, which are issued in exchange values, are redeemed in real use values.
Difference to the language: this does not require any further authentication. By contrast, monetary assets need to be covered by deposited reserves, ultimately by institutional anchoring. This is necessary because money does not create trust simply by functioning as a medium. (See Confidence/Habermas).
Habermas IV 399
4. System-forming effect: Subsystems/Habermas: are indicators of a successful formation of subsystems: The crisis-like fluctuations in the quantitative ratio of the values embodied by the medium (here: money) and the real values represented by them (i.e. the dynamics of inflation and deflation) - The reflective upgrading of the medium, which makes capital markets possible, for example. (See Subsystems/Habermas).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

ParCh I
Ch. Parsons
Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays Cambridge 2014

ParTa I
T. Parsons
The Structure of Social Action, Vol. 1 1967

ParTe I
Ter. Parsons
Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics 2000

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981


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