[OPE-L:7416] Re: Re: Re: RE: Commodity money in a Sraffian system

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Fri Jul 12 2002 - 16:08:38 EDT

Sraffa seems to be reinforcing Ricardo`s view on absolute prices, that is, that
the amount of money determines the absolute level of prices (just as Ricardo did
in deriving comparative advantages). With any commodity taken as a standard of
value (chapter 1) and its price equalled to one, all other commodities will have
their relative prices expressed in that commodity. The quantity of money would
then determine the absolute level of prices, that is the prices expressed in
money. Is this closer to Marx or to the orthodox money veil?
Paulo Cipolla

Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> Paulo writes in 7404
> >Gary, it seems to me that Marx`s argument is that gold can not have a price
> >because its price would be it own self. By definition price has to be the
> >expression of value in something different from the thing which is
> >being measured.
> >It  seems to me therefore that one can not interpret that phrase as being
> >something equivalent to considering gold as the numeraire. The numeraire is
> >tipically a way of closing a system which presents more variables
> >than equations.
> >Chosing a numeraire allows for the closure of the system. Marx does
> >not seem to be
> >closing any system!
> >Paulo Cipolla
> Yes indeed Marx attempted to demonstrate why capitalism was not a
> closed but an open system susceptible to historical change by its
> very contradictions.
> So yes isn't there a big difference between a theory which must
> select (and construct) a numeraire with (as Blaug emphasises) no real
> world significance in order to close a system of equations in order
> to throw into analytical relief a wage/profit frontier and a theory
> which attempts to explain why in the bourgeois mode of production the
> form of appearance of economic magnitudes has to be money which as a
> result of this function carries the seeds of economic contradiction
> and crisis?
> Didn't Marx critique Ricardo for understanding money in terms mainly
> of its exchange faciliating role in what was imagined to be a system
> of preconciled quasi-barter (see excellent Aoki analyisis)?  How does
> Sraffa's construction of the standard commodity as numeraire overcome
> the problems which Marx isolated in Ricardo's theory of money? How
> can the standard commodity even be said to be money in any sense
> since it changes with every change in the productive configuration?
> And since the standard commodity does change with every change in the
> technical conditions, what kind of solution to Ricardo's wil o wisp
> search for an invariant standard of value is this?
> At any rate, did Sraffa himself think he had advanced or supported
> Marx's or Keynes' critique of classical political economy's theory of
> money with his analytical construction of the standard commodity?
> All the best, Rakesh

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