Re: (OPE-L) Measurement of abstract labor

From: cmgermer@UFPR.BR
Date: Sun Jul 25 2004 - 22:54:55 EDT

Hi, Jurriaan,
Thank you very much for your reply. It would of course have been good if
you had had time to clarify your views about the aspects of Marx’s theory
of money I pointed out in my post, following your remarks in your previous
post. In your reply you raise several topics whose further discussion
would in my opinion require those clarifications. Anyway, there are a few
points that I would like to comment on:

> I cannot discuss monetary now, too much other stuff going on and I haven't
> settled my final position on it, but, basically, I regard Marx's theory as
> the best foundation for an adequate theory of money, since it is solidly
> based on the real history of economic exchange.

This is a very important point, and I think you are right, but it doesn’t
explain much. It seems to me that all theories claim to be based on the
real way of functionning of the economy, thus this is not what
distinguishes Marx’s theory. In my opinion Marx’s theory of money
distinguishes itself from the others because it is grounded, firstly, on
distinct philosophical and methodological settings and, secondly, on
distinct pressupositions as to the characteristics of a commodity
producing economy. The materialist approach leads to the refusal to
conceive of money as being an arbitrary creation either of the state or of
any other agent; and Marx’s pressupositions of the commodity producing
economy lead to the concept of money as a commodity. This is what in my
opinion money is in the real capitalist economy according to Marx's
theory, but it seems that the majority of Marxist authors today disagree
with this opinion. Thus it is necessary to go deeper into the discussion
of the groundings of Marx's theory in order to see what the real
capitalist economy looked like for him.

> But modern monetary theory
> must come to grips with the economic effects of massive credit-creation
> and fiduciary money, and the abandonment of the gold-dollar standard.

It seems to me that this statement of yours is based on implicit unproven
pressupositions, which are: 1) that in Marx’s time the massive creation of
credit and of fiduciary money were phenomena of minor significance, of
which people seem to have been unaware, which I think is not true; 2) that
Marx’s theory of money did not contemplate and/or is unable to take into
account and explain those phenomena, which I think is also not true; 3)
that what you call the abandonment of the gold-dollar standard implies
that gold has lost its monetary role, which in my opinion cannot be taken
as a proven fact.


> In socialist political economy, the market is only an instrument for
> achieving a desired allocation of resources which reflects majority
> opinion. Thus the market is never an absolute good, dogmatically asserted,
> and questions about the distribution of wealth can never be separated from
> the production of that wealth.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean: you seem to believe that the
market is compatible with socialism. I’m sorry if I understand you
wrongly, but if that is your belief, then your interpretation of Marx’s
theory of money is in my opinion problematic. If I missunderstood you,
please don’t consider my remark.


> What Sraffian-type theory does, is separate the production of a surplus
> from its distribution, but that is precisely what Marx denies, because
> wealth is appropriated by virtue of private property relations, prior to
> its distribution. To say that the "value-form" dominates society, as
> Marxists very profoundly try to say, just means the Capital has command
> over Labor, rather than the other way round, i.e. that property-ownership
> gives power of people over other people. Once this is admitted, no
> economics is possible without reference to the power-relations between
> social classes.
> Jurriaan

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