Inflation, credit, and the 'money expression of labour' within a value-form perspective

From: Phil Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 17:49:10 EDT

>Philip Dunn wrote on the same topic
>>I do not see how changes in the value of money over time prevent it
>>measuring the value of produced commodities.  Money is purchasing
>>power and its intrinsic value is measured by quantity of the immanent
>>measure, labour time, it commands.  The value of a nominal unit of
>>money, as universal relative, is equal to the the ratio of total living
>>labour time to total nominal value added.  What is required to have a
>>prior existence is only _equivalent_ value, the labour time
>>equivalents of money.  The _relative_ value of produced commodities
>>is then expressed by money as universal equivalent.
>This if fine from the point of view of defining values at a given
>point in time. The problem for the capitalist class is that they
>are interested not in simply measuring instantaneous values but
>in exerting a trans-temporal social power. They want the
>power of command that they exercise with their current
>money to remain undiminished or preferably to increase
>over time.
>A decline in the value of money prevents it from acting
>as a store of value, and contracts entered into in terms of
>money - the lending of money for example - can lead to
>them ending up with less social power than they started.

Clearly, such things do happen.  Value accounting should account
for them.  The question seems to be where does mere accounting
end (I do not mean to dismiss the importance of value accounting,
it is a vital and difficult first step) and explanation begin.

>>The difficulty is due, I think, to Marx's mapping of the
>>relative/equivalent distinction onto the value/use-value distinction.
>>Equivalent value has nothing to do with use-value.  The
>>relative/equivalent distinction is a distinction within the value
>What is the use of the relative/equivalent distinction. It strikes
>me as a bit of pointless Hegelian erudition on Marx's part.
>I have never seen any subsequent explanatory theory that
>has had to rely upon it.

The distinction does not make sense outside of the context of
equal exchange.  If the relative value of a produced commodity
does not equal its equivalent value, there is no sense in which
the equivalent is an equivalent.  Therefore equal exchange.
The value of the produced commodity is equal to the value of
the money it sells for.

I do think that Marx's analysis of the value form in C I 1.3 is
foundational, though not without problems.

In solidarity

Philip Dunn

>Paul Cockshott
>Dept Computing Science
>University of Glasgow
>0141 330 3125

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