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

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Sat Dec 04 2004 - 17:21:36 EST


I have just put a couple of points in your note below to Claus.


paul B.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>
Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 5:00 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] recent references on 'problem' of money commodity?

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

Gerry, why then do the state and its banks hold/store gold and not, for 
example churches other private organisations? What is the relation
between the bank and this gold?

 The US also holds "strategic oil reserves" but thatdoesn't make oil the money commodity. 

Of course not, but it does not pretend hold it as money, whereas gold 
IS counted as money by the reserve banks.

 Nations also have reserves of food, but that doesn't make food a money commodity. 

In both these case you simply equate a hoard with the definition of money... rather strange. 

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. 

The point is that the flight is away from the paper currency/ies that have been built up 
during the previous up-cycle, back to base as it were... to the store of value which cannot be manipulated by the state, or others, because its value is an expression of  congealed  social labour. It is  most expressive of abstract human labour by its very material qualities, and in very small, manageable amounts, and so acceptable universally...(and please don't bring in the 'administration charges' again... that is besides the point)

 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. 

The relation between gold and religion is no doubt most interesting, golden domes, golden 
crosses , golden rings,etc  Even 'faith' has to have proof of, must demonstrate, its material worth! and its universality! How much better to command gold.  ( Can I interest you in an Indulgence...? where faith has an exchange value nothing could be better than golden money, or silver on the plate) But this is another sort of topic!!

 It is a relic from the past (and a romanticisation of
> the  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).

Ahhaa... so there it is the Chief Bankers of the world are all mistaken, 
fetishists, superstitious and irrational, all of which is probably true in 
many ways, but  dammit, why gold! because they are romantic relics??

> 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.

Gerry...  I have only said that with all the changes in the last half century, 
gold still is the benchmark in the last resort because it is a ( very special)
commodity, that acts as money, provides an equivalent form, when all its
paper representations lose their reputations.... as they will from time to
time in inter imperialist struggle..  The correct explanation for the 
role of money arises through understanding this. Whatever paper of convenience 
and state authority  comes to act as its 'agent' ... it, mined money,  remains the
final 'principal' .



> 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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