[OPE-L:7464] RE: Re: RE: Aoki on money II

From: A.B.Trigg@open.ac.uk
Date: Thu Jul 25 2002 - 12:42:04 EDT

Though an ope-l user I have missed this discussion about C-M-C. To pick up
on Chris Arthur, Marth Campell, Fred Mosely' s arguments that it is
capitalist, do I need to look at old ope-L files, or is it in their (your,
if your reading) published writings. I would like to study these and make a

Just off the cuff, I am sympathetic with Gil's argument that Marx does have
a method of starting out with simple (unrealistic assumptions), like the one
that prices=values. Simple reproduction is another stage in the complexity.I
can't understand why you are frightened of simpe commodity production. Thuis
seems to be extremely useful in defining what capitalism is and isn't. Why
does it have to be capitalist? Its difficult to see on the email where you
are coming from.

Many thanks for your excellent detailed reply.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Rakesh Bhandari [SMTP:rakeshb@stanford.edu]
> Sent:	19 July 2002 15:49
> To:	ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject:	[OPE-L:7428] Re: RE: Aoki on money II
> re Andrew T's 7427
> I too look forward to replies by other OPE-L'ers.
> >Rakesh.
> >I also found the Aoki piece very interesting. Can I try a question out on
> >you? Aoki argues that C-M-C, simple commodity production, is Marx's
> starting
> >point
> I do not think Aoki actually conflates C-M-C with simple commodity 
> production; after all he says this is the circuit in which wage labor 
> is caught, and proletarians are not simple commodity producers.  Aoki 
> says that by simple commodity production he means only a society 
> where the basic production relations are ambiguous or unspecified.
> In a society in which the commodity has become the general form of 
> wealth, we find that commodities are not exchanged for commodities 
> (C-C) but through money (C-M-C). Those exchanging commodities could 
> be capitalists and wage workers, rather than simple commodity 
> producers. It's not that capitalists do not sell commodities for 
> money which is then exchanged for commodities. Their behavior can 
> usually be described as C-M-C but their motivation cannot. So that 
> Marx begins with C-M-C does not mean that he has begun his analysis 
> with simple commodity producers rather than capitalists. It only 
> means the latter's behavior is analyzed first in terms of the 
> exchange of commodities rather than the expansion of money capital.
>   I agree with the arguments presented by Chris Arthur, Martha 
> Campbell and Fred Moseley that Marx is assuming from the beginning of 
> Capital a fully capitalist society in which the basic relation is 
> that of the production of commodities by means of wage labor. In fact 
> I think only when we have such production relations is the commodity 
> the general form of wealth, so that Marx begins with the commodity as 
> general form of wealth implies the existence of truly capitalist 
> relations of production, even if Marx does not specify so 
> unambiguously from the beginning. After all to introduce wage labor 
> properly Marx first has to develop logically the distinction between 
> use value and exchange value. That is, for logical relations Marx 
> does not specify unambiguously the relations of production which he 
> assumes from the outset: a developed bourgeois society is however the 
> object of his analysis (and revolutionary ire) from the very first 
> sentence.
>   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. He has assumed the latter 
> from the inception--this is where I seem to disagree with you as 
> well.  What Marx is attempting to clarify is what the latter has to 
> alienate in exchange if the expansion of money capital is to be 
> effected in a generalized commodity society. On the basis of the 
> distinction between exchange and use value Marx discovers that wage 
> labor cannot alienate labor time itself in exchange but only its 
> labor power.
> In the first part Marx focuses on the capitalist exchange of 
> commodities implicitly produced by wage laborers (which is not to say 
> that Marx does not make forays into the history of commodity 
> exchange, but his basic object of investigation is a fully developed 
> capitalist society). Marx underlines that these commodities are not 
> exchanged directly against each other but through the mediation of 
> money. Marx thus analyzes the puzzling, if not dazzling, nature of 
> money.
> The question quicky becomes why money monopolizes direct 
> exchangeability and what other properties it has as a result of said 
> monopoly (see last chapter in Alfredo's book). Further, why does 
> money then allow for the possibility of a general crisis? All these 
> questions can be asked without assuming those who are exchanging 
> commodities for money and repurchasing commodities with money are 
> simple commodity producers.
> I agree with Aoki when he writes:
> >     In Crotty's interpretation, Marx traced capitalism' s crisis
> potential
> >  to
> >  the insertion of money as a medium of exchange into what would
> otherwise
> >  be a
> >  barter system and theorized how this crisis potential increases in
> >  complexity
> >  and potential severity with the multiplication of the functions of
> money
> >  and
> >  the development of the credit system and institutions of financial
> >  intermediation--in short, with the development of capitalism. Marx's
> >  analysis
> >  develops in three major phases: (1) the implications of money's
> function
> >  as
> >  means of circulation in the C-M-C circuit, (2) the additional
> implications
> >  of
> >  money's function as means of payment in C-M-C, and (3) the
> complications
> >  resulting from the contradictory unity of circulation and production
> >  embodied
> >  in the M-C-M circuit.
> >  in the first three chapters of Capital, Volume 1. Now this is is a
> >closed system, a closed circuit of commodities in which there is an
> >equilibrium solution.
> While I agree that there is a closed character to C-M-C, I don't see 
> how and why Marx commits himself to any equilibrium notions in the 
> first part of Capital.
> Aoki's point seems to be that even analysis of the nature of the 
> money in terms of its mediation of commodity exchange reveals that it 
> has greater complexity than classical economics allowed. And the 
> nature of money is already such that even the smoothness of C-M-C 
> cannot be guaranteed.  Of course once we introduce the function of 
> money as a capital even greater complexity is discovered (for 
> example, time constraints on the completion of the circulation of 
> capital). I do not see where Aoki commits himself to equilibrium 
> thinking in this piece.
> >  I agree that once money is introduced in M-C-M' then a
> >more open system is introduced, but as a METHODOLOGICAL STARTING POINT a
> >closed equilibrium model is where Marx builds from.
> I don't think Marx begins with
> 1. simple commodity production or commodities exchanged by simple or 
> independent
>    commodity producers. Marx does begin with C-M-C, but that does not mean
> that
>    the actors whose existence he assumes at the outset are simple
> commodity
>    producers
> 2. any notion of equilibrium; in fact in explores the possibility of 
> a general crisis even in part one of Capital, vol 1.
> Comradely Rakesh

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