Re: [OPE-L] standard commodity

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 - 17:36:12 EST

Hi Andy (and Ajit and others):

The tennis match that you are playing with Ajit is confusing --
to me at least.   In an earlier volley, you claimed that the results
about basic goods in Ajit's and Paul C's paper were "obvious" and
"trivial".  Now it is clear that your disagreement with Ajit is _primarily_
*ontological*.  Perhaps if the both of you could focus  on _either_ the
formal logical consistency of  the paper _or_ the ontological question
(re commodity, money, value,  capitalism, etc.) then you might not be
talking past each other as much, imho.

It also seems to me that neither one of you are going to convince
the other of your position.  If that is the case, then the goal of the
exchange should simply be clarification.

In solidarity, Jerry

[Andy wrote:}
> In a system of generalised commodity production we aren't much interested
in the exchange value of a commodity in relation to just one other
commodity! That isn't what we mean by 'purchasing power' or exchange value,
nor is it the true significance of  'price'. We do not acquire money only
for its own sake but because it allows us command over all the goods
produced in the economy, in some or other definitie quantitities. Isn't this
the key significance of money? It (money) is the general equivalent and it
has a crucial quantitative dimension for us that is not captured by
reference to the exchange relation with just one good! (If you disagree then
here certainly lies a deep disagrement between us).  We are interested in
generalised purchasing power and so need to quantify it. But, absent a
theory of value by which we can reduce to one dimension the manifestly
diverse goods that money enables us to purchase, all we can do to quantify
purchasing power of, say, a unit of money is consider the whole set or
vector of goods, each of which costs one unit of money. Then one unit is
'worth' one of these vecotrs, two units is worth two and so on. But this
obviously breaks down once new goods come along so to get a measure of
generalised exchange value -- or purchasing power -- through time then
becomes impossible without the 'third thing', value, that allows us to
commensurate otherwise incommensurable diverse commodities. <

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