Money is the most flexible of all forms of capital. This is because quantity is the sole feature that distinguishes different parcels of money from one another and because these quantities can be so easily expressed in the form of bank notes, promissory notes of one kind or another or even electronically. Money can move across national borders with greater speed than either traded commodities or relocated factories, and it can be transformed into and out of either of these in an instant. The capitalist system functions through its movements, into and out of other forms of capital and from one part of the world to another, in response to fluctuations in profit, which are in turn all expressed in terms of quantities of money. Since on its own, without constant transformation into productive and commodity capital, money is no more than an idle hoard, its apparent magical power to multiply itself and to command whatever it fancies stems from its relationships with trade and investment. Indeed the special feature of Japan’s international finance is the exceptional tightness of the networks which preserve close relationships between trade, investment and finance. Apart from the brief period of the bubble economy in the late 1980s, when Japanese money seemed to fly in all directions into and out of almost anything, often with little apparent purpose or monitoring, these same networks have spearheaded Japanese capital’s international onslaught into world money markets.
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