Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment

From nominal and real money to quantum money

Cencini Alvaro, Universita’ della Svizzera italiana

Adam Smith conceptual distinction between nominal and real money is a milestone in the modern analysis of money. Too often wrongly identified with a commodity or a net asset, money is conceived by Smith as ‘the great wheel of circulation’, as a means rather than an object of payment. Issued by banks as their spontaneous acknowledgment of debt, nominal money has no intrinsic value whatsoever and must conceptually be distinguished from real money, which derives its value, or purchasing power, from production. Karl Marx’s contribution to a better understanding of money is epitomized by his concept of ‘form of value’, which introduces the idea that money is first of all a numerical form allowing to give a numerical expression to what would otherwise remain a heap of heterogeneous objects. Yet, it is only with Maynard Keynes that a satisfactory solution to how can money be associated to produced output is found. His identification of the economic unit of measure with wages (‘wage-units’) is the key towards modern monetary macroeconomics and the prelude to Bernard Schmitt’s quantum conception of money and production. The latter stands both as the logical point of arrival of the analyses developed by Smith, Ricardo, Marx and Keynes, and as a revolutionary way of relating money and production to time, in a quantum approach where monetary emissions are so closely coupled with real emissions that they become the two aspect of one and the same operation: economic production is essentially a creation of money due to the work of man, and measured through the payment of wages.


Keywords: nominal money, real money, quantum money

Paper file