[OPE-L:7430] Re Aoki on K and M on money

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 13:05:39 EDT

Rakesh, thanks for bringing the Aoki article to my attention.  I hadn't 
known about the 1933 MS of Keynes's theory, and found Aoki's discussion of 
the overlaps and contrasts with Marx quite interesting.  But for what it's 
worth, so far as I can see nothing Aoki wrote suggests a refutation of my 
earlier comments on the applicability of Sraffa to Marx, **at the level of 
abstraction at which Sraffian analysis engages Marx's analysis.**  Aoki 
notes that both Marx and Keynes understand money to play a more complex 
role in a capitalist economy than simply serving as a medium of exchange, 
and that this more complex role allows for the possibility of capitalist 

But first, none of these more complex aspects of money are at issue in the 
portion of Marx's analysis under discussion with Gary and Fred, roughly 
corresponding to Marx's argument in KIII, Ch. 9.  I might add, in 
anticipation of what follows, that nor are these more complex aspects of 
money at issue in Marx's analysis of the "contradictions" in the circuit of 
capital in KI, Ch. 5. If you allow  Marx to abstract from these 
complexities at this stage, then it seems to me a similar latitude should 
be allowed to the Sraffian framework when it addresses the same set of 
questions at the same level of generality.  Second, I see no evident 
impediment to incorporating the more complex functions of money in a 
Sraffian framework if this is called for in some more all-encompassing 
abstraction of capitalist processes, and see no reason to believe that 
doing so would reverse the valid indictments of Marx's analysis made 
possible by the Sraffian framework.

>  My argument with Gil has been that Marx is not attempting a logical 
> transition from simple commodity production to wage labor relations of 
> production in chapters five and six.

It would be pointless to re-engage this argument, but I will just note for 
the record that contrary to your claim here I never argued that Marx is 
attempting such a logical transition.  My main point is that (whether or 
not you understand Marx to be positing a fully elaborated capitalist 
economy at every step of his argument in KI, Part 2), Marx explicitly 
developed logical basis for invoking *price-value proportionality* (i.e. 
the analytical hypothesis that commodities exchange at their respective 
values) as the necessary theoretical starting point for analyzing surplus 
value is (1) evidently invalid, involving a fallacious inference about 
necessary conditions from a premise concerning sufficient conditions; (2) 
contradicted by at least one version of the circuit of capital that meets 
all of Marx's conditions for the existence of surplus value; and (3) 
essentially misleading about the systemic conditions that make it possible 
for capitalists to appropriate surplus value.

But other than noting what my real argument on this point is for the 
record, I don't mean to pursue this critique further in this forum.  There 
is a very different set of questions at stake in the exchange between Fred 
and Gary.


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