Re: (OPE-L) Re: money don't measure

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Fri Jul 30 2004 - 15:40:42 EDT

At 9:03 AM -0400 7/30/04, glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:
>  >>> As for the special aspect of gold to which you speak above, gold is in
>fact a special status commodity by methodological fiat in Marx's
>system. It is assumed to have a given and fixed value throughout the
>three volumes of Capital. Grossmann argued that only someone who was
>scientifically untutored would consider this to be arbitrary and
>undermining of the scientific status of Capital. That is, you will not get
>off the block unless you make that assumption. <<<
>It wasn't an arbitrary assumption for Marx because it corresponded
>to the reality of capitalism during his time.

No, gold did not have a given and fixed value even in Marx's time,
yet he made just that assumption. I have already quoted Grossman
three times over the last three years as to why Marx made that
assumption. Ajit has not engaged the reasoning as far as I remember.

>  Whether gold
>_continues_ to have the special status (as the money commodity)
>today is another question.

Gold never had the property of an invariable measure of value, and
Marx knew it. But he attributed that property to gold, anyway. The
question is why.

>   More specifically, whether a theoretical
>system that purports to systematically explain the character of the
>bourgeois mode of production now requires such an assumption is

Again the question here is not the commodity or precious metal
character of money. The assumption is that of an invariable measure
of value which Marx takes gold to be, knowing full well that it is no
such thing. Again...why?

>   The issue shouldn't be what Marx assumed but whether
>a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter (capitalism)
>requires that one analytically give gold a 'special status'.

Again it's not simply giving gold a special status. Marx did not put
it in the universal equivalent position. What he did do by
methodological fiat is assume gold had a given and fixed value.


>I wonder (I'm thinking aloud here): in many fields of study (most
>notably, anatomy and  evolution) there is the recognition that
>there are forms that only have vestigal (sp?) meaning.  E.g. body
>parts that are no longer reuired for existence because of the
>evolution of a species. Is the analysis (explanation) of vestigal
>(and no longer necessary) forms required in basic theoretical political
>economy or can such an analysis be treated as historical footnotes and
>Now, back to the boat!
>In solidarity, Jerry

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