He notes the way in which John Locke fixed monetary value to (precious) metal . The result was that clipped coins gained a shelf-life as legal tender (since they were worth less than they should be) . Before they expired they could be used to pay taxes or buy government bonds, when they would be re-minted according to actual silver content.
Amongst the ancients, the general understanding was that economic value was quite obviously a property of the social world, and that money was an archetypal social phenomenon. The very term that the Greeks used for money was nomisma, “something sanctioned by current established usage or custom” .Nonetheless, Locke’s legacy persists to the present day, and will be picked up in the final post. In the next post, however, we will see that whereas John Locke erred towards fixity, John Law erred towards flexibility.