"Since money does not disclose what has been transformed into it, everything, whether a commodity or not, is convertible into gold. Everything becomes saleable and purchasable. Circulation is the great social retort into which everything is thrown and out of which everything is recovered as crystallized money. Not even the bones of the saints are able to withstand this alchemy; and still less able to withstand it are more delicate things, sacrosanct things which are outside the commercial traffic of men. Just as all qualitative differences between commodities are effaced in money, so money, a radical leveller, effaces all distinctions. But money itself is a commodity, an external object, capable of becoming the private property of an individual. Thus social power becomes private power in the hands of a private person."
Source: Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization, (Harcourt, 1934) pps. 23-4