Re: [OPE-L] recent references on 'problem' of money commodity?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Dec 04 2004 - 12:00:03 EST

> The essence
> of your argument is that gold is not money because it does not circulate
> as money.


No, the essence of my argument is that I see no convincing evidence
or arguments that gold remains the money commodity.

This is not, from my perspective, a question of what Marx wrote
or even how and/or if a non-commodity theory of money can be
made compatible with Marx's theory.  I view those questions as
interesting and important but entirely secondary.

What arguments are there that gold remains the money commodity?
That central banks still hold gold reserves?  So what?  That proves
nothing.  Nothing.  The US also holds "strategic oil reserves" but that
doesn't make oil the money commodity.  Nations also have reserves
of food, but that doesn't make food a money commodity. I agree also
with Michael H that the argument that there has been a flight to gold
during periods of economic crisis is not a convincing argument for gold
being the money commodity.  In times of economic and social crisis there is
also a flight to religion and the Church.   Like religion, the faith in the
supposed power of gold is  a deep-seated  cultural  belief in many
social formations.  It is a relic from the past (and a romanticisation of
past by some), an example of commodity fetishism, and often reflects
deep-seated superstitions and irrational suspicions -- especially
concerning the state (for these reasons, it is not surprising that the
biggest advocates of  the importance of gold in the world economy are
right-wing libertarians such as the followers of the late Ludwig
von Mises).

Furthermore, _even if_ there was a return to a gold standard
(_highly_ unlikely from my perspective, but a _theoretical_
possibility) this would not be a proof for your claim that a money
commodity is somehow essential for the operation of capitalism.
And, as I have suggested before, a belief that gold is somehow
essential to the operation of capitalism has important and
unacceptable political implications (see the 12/1 post "gold and
the struggle against US and European imperialism").

In solidarity, Jerry

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