Re: (OPE-L) On the mango theory of money

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 11:14:13 EDT

Jerry, you are of course right. I guess we could say that this island
has an inherently inflationary monetary system that discourages
hoarding and requires the velocity and quantity of mangoes to
increase with generalized productivity increases in fruit farming.

By putting mangoes in the equivalent form, I was only trying to bring
out the peculiarities or rather absurdities of the equivalent form,
only looking at money in the exchange relationship itself.

It's how I tried to explain in class this most difficult part of
Marx's analysis, liberally using formulations from Colletti, Wolff
and of course Marx.

I sent it because in our offlist conversation with Duncan Foley he
mentioned that he is now most interested in the relationship between
money and abstract labor. And I think the passage from TSV is an
excellent place to start (it doesn't seem to be cited often enough).
It was good to teach from; good to parse, though Ajit finds it opaque
and circular.

In the Althusserian tradition, the first part of Capital has its own
problematic. Ajit has done his own symptomatic reading, similar in
nature to most Althusserians who read in the first part of Capital a
recognition of the autonomy of economic units such that the autonomy
of the individual appears and hence the contradiction between
individual subjects and social reproduction. Given the taboo against
Subject and contradiction. Althusser had to counsel skipping the
first chapters. Even Lipietz came to reject this reading.

Like Fred Moseley and others I think the first part is about the
equivalent value form and  a theory of money as the necessary form of
value. That theory of money cannot be subsumed within a Walrasian or
humanist problematic.

I am however very interested in many of Althusser's efforts, and see
why Bhaskar found him the best thinker for the development of the
philosophy of science.

Yours, Rakesh

>1) Put some "mango-money" in your back pack.
>2) A month later, open your back pack and
>    remove the "mango money".
>Oops.  Where is the "mango-money"?  Is it
>that squishy stuff  (without value) at the bottom of
>the back pack or is it that stain?
>Now, had one put a 'silver' dollar or a Federal Reserve
>Note in one's back pack then -- in the ordinary
>course of events -- one could open the back pack
>after a month and still find the money that one put in
>it and be able to then use it as money.
>Money must serve as a store of value.  Unless it
>can store value it can not be held for future purchases.
>Nor can it serve as an instrument of hoarding.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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