Re: OPE request

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Thu Aug 28 2003 - 22:01:04 EDT

In response to Rakesh's question, the subject of this year's meeting of
our group (which we call the International Symposium of Marxian Theory, or
ISMT) was "Marx's Theory of Money".  In addition to our eight regular
members (myself, Chris Arthur, Riccardo Bellofiore, Martha Campbell,
Patrick Murray, Geert Reuten, Tony Smith, and Nicky Taylor), we invited
other specialists on this subject to join us this year (Suzanne de
Brunhoff, Duncan Foley, Claus Germer, Makoto Itoh, Costas Lapavitsas,
Pichit Likitkijsomboon, and Anitra Nelson).  The conference was held in
early August at Mount Holyoke College, and we had a great time.

As Tony has pointed out, the preliminary conference drafts are available
on the conference website (along with comments on the papers by other
participants).  I repeat that these are preliminary drafts that should not
be quoted or cited without permission of the author.

Very briefly, the main issues we discussed (at least in my view) were the

1.  Does Marx's theory have to be a commodity in Marx's theory?  Even
though there remains disagreement on this question, we made progress by
more clearly distinguishing between the different functions of money, and
especially by more clearly distinguishing between money as measure of
value and money as means of circulation.  We all agree that money as means
of circulation does not have to be a commodity.  The only question is
whether money has to be a commodity in Marx's theory as the measure of

2.  If money has to be a commodity in order to function as the measure of
value, then how is the "monetary expression of labor" (MEL) determined in
today's economy?  Is it still determined by the inverse of the value of
gold, or by some other way?

3.  If money does not have to be a commodity as the measure of value, then
how is value measured today, and how is the "monetary expression of labor"
(MEL) determined?

How significant are the differences between the determination of the MEL
with commodity money and with non-commodity money?

4.  Does Marx's theory assume that abstract labor EXISTS, as a separate
entity from money and exchange, which MUST BE EXPRESSED as money, or does
Marx's theory assume that abstract labor DOES NOT EXIST except as money?

5.  What is the method of causation or determination in Marx's theory?
Does Marx's theory presume that quantities of socially necessary
labor-time cause or determine money prices, or that money prices and
socially necessary labor-time "emerge jointly" in exchange, with no
direction of causation between them, or with causation running in both

6.  How valid is Marx's critique of the quantity theory of money?

7.  What is the role of money in the "transformation problem"?  Does the
transformation of values into prices of production result in a transfer of
surplus-value between the gold industry and other industries, such that
total prices of production is NOT EQUAL to total values.

Rakesh, I start teaching next week, so I have only very limited time for
substantial email discussions right now.  I will write an introduction to
the conference volume in January, and I would be happy to post this on
OPEL for discussion.  Perhaps that would be a better time and more
efficient way to discuss these issues.  But I would by happy to try to
answer specific questions, if you wish.

Also, the papers will be revised by January 1, and perhaps there could be
a discussion of one or more of these papers at that time.

Rakesh, thanks for your interest.


On Wed, 27 Aug 2003, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 12:39:01 -0700
> From: Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject: OPE request
> I am hoping that some members of OPE-L may be willing to comment on
> recent conferences. At the URPE conference, Michael Perleman
> delivered the David Gordon lecture; Fred Moseley and Gil Skillman
> debated about value theory; and Cyrus Bina and George Caffentzis
> discussed US foreign policy and oil rent too (I imagine).
> Love to hear about how these went.
> I think Fred's Mt Holyoke group discussed money this summer. I'd love
> to hear about commodity money, fictitious capital, gold, central bank
> policy, central bank holdings of govt paper (note the Restall piece
> on China's holding of US govt paper), international monetary chaos. I
> always learn a great deal from what Martha Campbell writes. Does
> Martha or any other participant (not sure who was there) want to
> share their reflections on what seems to have been a very important
> conference indeed?
> Share the wealth, share the knowledge!
> Yours, Rakesh

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