Mar 112001

You can imagine a culture as a correlate to self-sufficient economy where everyone could collect information and create works solely by himself without any communication with the others. Actually, however, we exchange commodities through money and views through language.

1. Money and language as media

Just as money is a communication medium, because it reduces the double contingency consisting of a pair of indeterminacy, whether the barter partner possesses what I desire and whether he desires what I possess, so language is a communication medium, because it reduces the double contingency consisting of a pair of indeterminacy, whether the communication partner understands what I express and whether I understand what he expresses.

There are about 6000 languages in the world. It is as difficult to learn 6000 languages in order to communicate with people all over the world as to barter. If people use English as the lingua franca, the languages to learn are no more than two. The assets necessary to exchange commodities in the specialized money economy are likewise the products of own labor and money.

2. Media measure and exchange values

A language intelligible only to the speaker is called private language. The language in general is to private languages what English is to local languages. You might think there are no such things as private languages. But when symbolizing abstracts empirical diversity, the selection is always otherwise possible and this otherness of possibility is the possibility of otherness. So, individually as well alter ego may select by mistake ego’s selection and ego may select by mistake alter ego’s selection.

The selection by language has three levels, 1. distinction of sense from nonsense, 2. distinction of truth from falsehood, 3. distinction of value from valuelessness. Any selection on each level is negentropy and therefore produces value. The word "value" is often used on the 1st or 2nd level, for example as the mathematical quantity or the length of a musical note. But the target of people’s desire in the language market is the most refined value in the narrow sense on the 3rd level.

Language does not represent meaning and truth the way money represents the value of commodities. If you compare cultural works produced by intellectual activity with economical commodities produced by labor, you will find sense/nonsense corresponds to being/non-being and truth/falsehood corresponds to usefulness/uselessness. Not only usefulness but also scarcity is necessary for commodities to be valuable. Similarly, the well-known truth has no information value. In order to be evaluated, surprise is required of news and originality is required of a theory.

How many buyers are willing to sacrifice how much for a commodity determines the total value of it. Such useful but not scarce goods as air and sunlight are free, because you do not have to sacrifice anything so as to get them. Analogously when you understand an expression by language, you accept a new knowledge at the cost of discarding the old knowledge that contradicts it. A well-known knowledge is worthless, because you do not have to sacrifice anything so as to accept it. The more old knowledge of the more people a new knowledge denies, the more value it has.

The number of currencies that consumers offer indicates the price of economic commodities and the number of signs of consumers praising indicates the merit of cultural works. The praise is not always expressed by language. Symbolic signs such as handclaps can take the place of it.

Currently social media offer the numbers that measure the impact of the contents.

3. Media save value

Money has the function of saving value as well as measuring and exchanging value. Language also has the function of saving the knowledge besides measuring and exchanging it.

It is the stock and flow of value and knowledge money and language represent that ensures their circulation. Esperanto, however rational as language it may be, does not circulate because it is short of stock. On the other hand, many people are still learning Greek and Latin, though their flows stopped, because they are rich in stock. Electronic money, however convenient its IC card may be, does not circulate so long as the issuer’s stock is not so affluent as that of the other issuers.

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