[OPE-L:6896] Re: Re: value-form

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Thu Apr 04 2002 - 20:10:06 EST

Hi Jerry [6892],

>II. Re Nicky's [6885]:
>a) When you wrote in 3) that value in commodity form prior to
>actualization through exchange is "ideal money", didn't you mean that it 
>was "ideal value"?   I  have doubts about the advisability of the
>expression "ideal money" since money can serve as money -- in 
>actuality rather than just ideally -- when it is withdrawn from 
>circulation, e.g. when it takes the form of a hoard.

I say "ideal money" for two reasons.  First, because capitalist's who
commit money to a production process transform money-capital into
productive capital through the purchase of wage-labour, and have
expectations about the likely monetary outcome of exploiting that labour.
To borrow Geert's wonderful term: the circuit of capital begins with
precommensuration in monetary terms.  If a capitalist were to talk about
the 'ideal value' of his capital tied up in commodity form, he would mean
the unrealised 'ideal' money-capital tied up in it.  Second, the term
'ideal money' is quite consistent with the idea that *capital* produces
value* by exploiting *wage* labour, an argument that flows itself from the
notion of form determination.  From this perspective, money in a hoard is
not 'ideal money' but 'actual money'; bearing in mind that 'actual money'
is not commodity money but bank (credit) balances.  Gold in a hoard is
simply a commodity like any other, 'ideal money' not yet in circulation.
Gold, like any other commodity becomes 'actual money' only when it is
traded (i.e. when a change in bank balances occurs).  

>b) Your attempt to  build on and synthesize Chris's [6873] and
>Geert's [6882]  is quite interesting, but I think that if  all of the
>rocks are overturned so that we can fully compare Chris's (and
>Tony's) perspectives on value with that of Geert (and Mike W)
>we will find not only significant areas of agreement but _also_
>significant areas of disagreement within the VFT tradition.  Yet,
>I am quite curious about how these comrades would articulate
>those differences so I will sit back, listen, and sip my cup of 
>coffee and contemplate.

Glad you are interested; and very nice to have positive encouragement from
non-VFT comrades :)  Taking your point about 'differences', I feel 99%
confident that Tony, Chris, Geert, and Patrick Murray will agree with me if
I say that the similarities among perspectives are far more important than
the differences (which mainly come down to differences in emphasis).  In
fact, my own synthesis attempt includes not only VFT theory but Riccardo
B's work (expecially on money in Marx's circuit).  Although the
disagreements may be larger here (and I'm not yet certain how important
they are) I think that the most fruitful way forward theoretically is to
emphasise our agreement on two key points: 1) that the capital-labour
relation is more fundamental than the exchange relation, and from this 2)
money and capital must be theorised as a relationship with labour along two
interconnected dimensions (reflected in the circuit of capital): the
exchange (in markets) of labour power for wages and the subsumption of
living labour (in production) under the aspects of time.  Differences
mainly concern how that is to be done.

If any of the above mentioned names profoundly disagree with this statement
on similarity/difference, please correct me!  Meantime, I'll join Jerry in
coffee and contemplation.


Nicola Taylor
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
South Street
W.A. 6150

Tel. 61 8 9385 1130 
email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au

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