Accumulator Is a function in which money serves the accumulation of value in its general abstract form in the process of expanded reproduction.
Historically, the emergence of the function of a means of accumulation became possible when the commodity producer was able not to spend part of the cash proceeds from the sale of his goods on the acquisition of other consumer values necessary for production or personal consumption, but to save it for the future. For this, the productivity of his labor must exceed his current production and consumer needs, that is, be at a sufficiently high level of development. So, this function could arise after the function of a medium of exchange and develop on its basis, but earlier than the function of a means of payment: a commodity producer could dare to sell his goods on credit only if the buyer could accumulate value to repay the debt.
At first, the accumulation of money had only one definite purpose – the preservation of value. To do this, it was enough to convert the value into ordinary pieces or ingots of precious metals and save them well in case of various social upheavals.
In this form, an abstract general wealth was accumulated, which was called a treasure.
The economic purpose of an ordinary (simple) treasure is:
- preservation from impairment of the original value of accumulated wealth;
- preservation of accumulated wealth from theft, robbery, etc .;
- creation of an insurance reserve of valuables in case of destructive events – natural disasters, armed attacks, diseases, and the like.
However, it did not bring any income to the owner and did not satisfy any personal needs.
The accumulation of money as a treasure was a spontaneous consequence and expression of the emergence of a surplus of products among ordinary commodity producers.
With the development of commodity production and money relations, the goals of accumulating the treasure also expanded. Instead of a desire to hide one s wealth, a desire arose to demonstrate it. The greater the role of money in society, the stronger this desire became. Under his influence, the primitive forms of treasures began to be given the form of luxury goods. An aesthetic form of the treasure appeared, which ceased to be just dead wealth and acquired a certain consumer sense. Along with the preservation of value, the treasure in this form began to satisfy important human needs – the need for self-expression, for aesthetic pleasure, etc. The new role of aesthetic treasures became for their owners a kind of compensation for losses associated with the fact that the treasure cannot become capital, does not bring them arrived. Thanks to this, the treasure in aesthetic form “survived” many social formations and continues to function even in modern conditions of almost complete capitalization of monetary relations in all countries, regardless of their level of economic development and economic system.
Subsequently, another goal of accumulating the treasure was formed – the creation of a reserve of means of payment, which gave it a reproductive character and focused on ensuring the growth of profits. This goal was determined by the complication of the very conditions and needs of the production and sale of goods. Without such a reserve, the commodity producer could not maintain continuity and ensure the expansion of his production. The emergence of a new goal of accumulating treasure radically changed its character. The treasure could no longer remain motionless for a long time and began to actively meet the needs of social reproduction.
The commodity producers began to accumulate treasure directly for the sake of expanding production and obtaining additional profits in the future. To bring such a future closer, they lent their treasures, placed them in banks, securities, which brought them profit in the form of interest and dividends. Then the treasure was transformed into a purposeful accumulation of money to preserve value as a moment in the process of expanded reproduction. This meant a higher level of development of this function. In contrast to the function of accumulating treasures, it has come to be called the function of accumulating value.
With the development of the function of accumulating value, the requirements for the form of money changed. At first, the dependence of the functional purpose of the accumulated money on its substantial value weakened, and then completely disappeared. Since accumulation has lost its abstractness of wealth in general, the need to keep it in the form of a stock of gold or silver has disappeared; their new role, which provides for the specification of the goals and timing of the accumulation of value, began to successfully carry out money signs – paper, deposit, electronic.
The new form of money had a positive impact on the development of the very function of a store of value and money relations in general:
- Firstly, it became possible to bring the accumulation volumes beyond the limits that were determined by the physical volumes of the extraction of precious metals.
- Secondly, the possibility of depreciation of banknotes pushed the owners of savings to capitalize them faster, which contributed to the development of organized savings, banking, the securities market, and the like. It was the accumulation of money that, in fact, turned into the accumulation of loan capital.
- Thirdly, capitalization of money savings, in turn, contributed to the solution of the disagreement between the preservation of value “at rest” within the limits of the turnover of individual capital and the need to accelerate its circulation on the scale of social reproduction.
At the same time, it should be noted that even in such conditions, the accumulation of treasures is carried out as a value that is in long rest. In addition to the aesthetic form, the classical accumulation of treasures continues in the form of ingots of precious metals, gold coins, etc. Large reserves of gold are stored in state treasuries, central banks, international monetary centers, as well as private owners.
Thus, in modern conditions, the sphere of the functioning of money as a means of accumulating value has been divided into two parts. In the one where the accumulation of value is due to the needs of expanded reproduction, capital turnover, has a specific purpose and is relatively short-term, money performs this function in the form of signs of value. In the same part where absolute wealth is accumulated, which is necessary outside the established process of social reproduction, it has the form of a treasure and is served by real money – gold.