Status Functions, Speech Acts, and the Emergence of Money

AIER Sound Money Project Working Paper No. 2019–15

23 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019 Last revised: 14 Sep 2019

See all articles by James Caton

James Caton

North Dakota State University - Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics; American Institute for Economic Research; North Dakota State University - NDSU Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise

Date Written: August 30, 2019

Abstract

In order for emergence to actually have significance for a specifically human social ontology requires a commitment on the part of participants that they submit to a status function implied or enabled by emergent phenomena such that participants could, if required, explicitly recognize the meaning of the status attribution in terms the deontic powers that it generates. In so doing, individuals recognize themselves and others as members of a community submitted to the meaning of the status function. Defined in this way, we can identify Tony Lawson's notion of emergence in Searlean terms. Emergence entails the generation of states and processes in a system that when recognized by actors, endows them with rights, duties, and obligations. In the case of Mengerian evolution of money, a status function is adopted once members within a given exchange network recognize that a particular commodity or other good has become generally accepted among network participants. This occurs by practice of exchange between members. We show how Searle has provides precedent for this interpretation of status functions through his elaboration of speech acts and declarations.

Keywords: Money, Emergence, Social Ontology, Status Function

JEL Classification: A14, E49, P48

Suggested Citation

Caton, James, Status Functions, Speech Acts, and the Emergence of Money (August 30, 2019). AIER Sound Money Project Working Paper No. 2019–15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3445569

James Caton (Contact Author)

North Dakota State University - Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics ( email )

Fargo, ND 58105
United States

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

North Dakota State University - NDSU Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise

811 2nd Ave N.
Fargo, ND 58102
United States

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