[OPE-L] Money as a store of value

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Oct 28 2007 - 12:23:33 EDT

It occurred to me that when I said that Laurence Harris's book Monetary Theory is not a specifically Marxist book, he might object to that.

For one thing, when he discusses the difference between barter economy and money economy, Harris notes that "The workers sell to the capitalists the commodity they own - labor-power - and they do so in order to obtain the means of existence - food, clothing, and other essentials" etc. (p. 11). 

For another thing, overall at least basic propositions about the functions money has, do not seem to differ all that much - for practical purposes - between serious Marxian, monetarist and Keynesian theories, although they disagree about policy effects (the causal chains involved in the utilisation of monetary instruments).

As against this, Harris (following Hicks) defines money as a "store of value", without defining the meaning of economic value, i.e. what economic value is, arguably a weakness in his treatise. 

Marx however does not define money as a "store of value", rather he defines economic value as human labour sui generis, and money as an autonomised "form" of value, with 7 basic functions - measure of value, standard of price, medium of circulation, means of purchase, means of payment, and representation of wealth; in discussing the additional function of hoarding, Marx specifically refers to the storing-up of "exchange value", not of value itself, i.e. money has no intrinsic value of its own, other than if it is embodied in a commodity functioning as money which has a production-cost (the unit-cost of producing a banknote such a a $1 dollar bill or a $1000 dollar bill is only a few cents). 


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