[OPE-L:2840] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (5 end) Partial Reply to Fred's on Althusser, concluding with CLASS STRUGGLE

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 16:37:26 EDT

[ show plain text ]

I am falling way behind on this very interesting discussion of Marx's
method and with little hope of catching up any time soon. Crunch time of
the semester has arrived and family members are arriving this weekend for
a visit. I hope to eventually respond to posts by Riccardo, Rakesh,
Alfredo, and Paul C. I will get to them as time permits.

I will start with a brief and partial response to Riccardo's latest post.
Thanks again, Riccardo.

I said in my last post:

> >
> >But philosophers of science (including philosophers of economics) should
> >be able to understand what this means. In the philosophy of science, one
> >important criterion in the appraisal of the relative validity of different
> >theories, is the range of important phenomena that can be explained in an
> >integrated way, on the basis of one fundamental premise (or the fewest
> >premises possible). On the basis of this criterion, surely a theory that
> >can explain the existence of money from its fundamental value theory is
> >preferred to a theory that simply takes the existence of money as a given
> >fact, without explaining it.

Riccardo replied:
> No, if one thinks that money is prior (is the condition of the production
> of) value (and surplus value).

My reply:

Marx's circulation of capital does indeed begin with money, and the
purchase of labor-power and means of production is prior to the production
of value and surplus-value. But Marx had already explained in Chapter 1,
what money is, the nature of money, i.e. the social representation of
abstract labor. If money is taken as given prior to value, then what is
money and what is its relation to value? If money is not understood as
objectified labor, then how can surplus-value (or delta M) be explained as
objectified surplus labor?

Again, my comment in my last post:

> >The relevant point for the current
> >discussion is that, if Marx could explain the existence of money as a
> >necessary consequence of his theory of value (which I think he can),
> >this would be preferred to simply taking money as given, without
> >explaining its necessary existence.

Riccardo's reply:

> I would say that, since general exchange is *capitalist* general exchange,
> and since capitalist production of commodities needs to be finaced, even if
> Marx is successful (and I doubt that), his explanation must be coherent
> with a good theory of finance to production, which necessitates money not
> be a commodity.
> BTW: Benetti and Cartelier, positively speaking, criticize Marx because
> they think that money is not a commodity. You ((and Martha) criticize them
> because you think that thei cirticism of Marx is wrong, but you *too* agree
> that money is not commodity (the same for Marx). *If* this is right, both
> of you agree positively (with me, and Benetti, and Cartelier), that money
> in capitalism is not a commodity. OK?
> BTW2: I agree with Claus that money in Capital is a money-commodity. If
> this is true, and if what is said above is true, Marx was wrong.

So we come back abain to the questions of whether or not money is a
commodity in Marx's theory and in the real world. I have already said in
earlier discussions that I am not sure about the answer to either of those
questions. But they are obviously very important questions, that we
should continue to discuss.

I do not understand why "a good theory of finance to production
necessitates that money must NOT be a commodity." For a long time
(at least), money was a commodity, no? So if a theory requires that money
NOT be a commodity, isn't there a problem with this theory? If money is
indeed no longer a commodity, but once was, then what we need is a theory
of money which can explain both money as a commodity and money not as a

I look forward to further discussion.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Apr 30 2000 - 19:59:44 EDT