[OPE-L:2871] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (5 end) Partial Reply to Fred's on Althusser, concluding with CLASS STRUGGLE

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 14:21:04 EDT

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I wish to thank Fred for his very interesting posts, and his patience in
the dialogue with me.

Fred, a general point. Probably it's my fault, but your main argument seem
to me of this kind:

(i) Marx had a *theory* of money

(ii) Keynes had not *Marx's* theory of money

(iii) hence Keynes had no theory of money

I agree with (i) and (ii), but I do not see how (iii) follows from them,
and I disagree with (iii).

BTW, of course if you go and read Keynes you find, more or less explicitly,
a discourse relate d to the nature of money. Briefly, I would say that in
the General Theory Keynes links money to uncertainty, and in the Treatise
on Money (much more implicitly) he has it as a kind of social accountancy
(what, indeed, Schumpeter said in his Das Wesen des Geldes, and Stiglitz &
Weiss took up again in some of their papers). These two notions are, IMHO,
very helpful.

BTW2, French authors coming *from* Marxism went a long way in trying to
ground a theory of money. Aglietta & Orlean went so far as to enroll the
anthropologist René Girard, and Benetti & Cartelier the sociologist Georg
Simmel. And they all made a serious confrontation with Marx's deduction of
money from the commodity (serious does not mean I agree with them).

In arguing your general position you raise many relevant points, which
however widen the area of debate. I can be very quick, but I try to put
forward the general line of a possible answer, point by point

>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?

Three answers (two are inconsistent, but let's put them forward nevertheless!)

(a) why Keynes should explain surplus value as objectified labour? That's Marx!

(b) however, Keynes in a footnote said he agreed with the Classical labour
theory of value (something like that), and the same is more seriously
argued by some PK theorists

(c) now let us take a Marxist, e.g. me: he may argue, well, let us assume
that there is bank finance to production, which allows capital a command
over labour power in the labour market and in the production process; *if*
it is possible to argue that abstract labour is the labour commanded by
capital (hence, that living labour before exchange is *already* posited as
equal, in as much as it is labour subjected to capital), then (potential)
surplus value is *already* surplus labour, *before* exchange, though of
course it has to be validated in exchange.

What's important in (iii)? The fact that here the abstraction of labour is
not based, as in Marx, on the fact that the abstract labour of a commodity
is actually represented in the concrete labour of the money commodity.
*here* I am not stressing the issue of money commodity yes, money commodity
no. I am stressing the idea which is the first pages of Capital that the
abstraction of labour is definitely grounded in commodity exchange.

If you give a look at my papers, you may realize that I try to say that the
analysis by Marx at the beginning of capital, including abstraction of
labour in exchange, is really posited only with the real subsumption of
labour to capital, which, in my opinion, means that with real subsumption
living labour of production is *already* there not only concrete labour but
(potential) abstract labour, equal as such, already measurable in labour

Hence, I am exactly trying to have finance to production (without money
commodity: see below), abstract labour grounded in the capital/labour
relation before final exchange, (potential) surplus value before exchange,
then the actualization of this 'value'.

I doubt somebody understood, but that's my line of reasoning (let's say:
suggestion of a line of research!), which is of course linked to your
question. But if you prefer, we may stick at the first two points.

>I do not understand why "a good theory of finance to production
>necessitates that money must NOT be a commodity."

I alreadu give an argument, which is Graziani's argument: if money is a
commodity, it must be produced; if production must be financed, how is
financed the production of the money 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

No. Here I agree with Schumpeter (and Marx's!) that the anatomy of man is
the key of the anatomy of the monkey, and hence that present non-commodity
money is the key of what you call the money commodity. If you wish, in
another post I may quote a phrase from History of Economic Analysis where
Schumpeter says that one thing is the *logical essence* of a social
phenomenon, another one is the *historical origin*. Hence the origin of
money may have been as a commodity, but its essence may well be being not a
commodity. After all, are you sure money commodity ever existed as such.
Was not coin etc. (the statual element of the control of money as socially
recognized purchasing power) the determining factor? And was Keynes wrong
when he said that the rupee was a banknote printed on metal? This, of
course, may be a completely different stream of debate.

BTW, if you go and check my comment on Meacci and de Brunhoff in the
Bergamo proceedings, you will see that my non commodity theory of money may
incorporate some elements which may appear to support Marx's conclusion
about the money commodity.
>I look forward to further discussion.

        Riccardo Bellofiore
Office: Department of Economics
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