[OPE] Kauri shells

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed Jun 10 2009 - 09:08:14 EDT

Paul C.,

Arguments such as...

"money is credit" or

"Money in the premodern era is different from our kind of money"

...are tautological, without further specification of the definition of the
essence of money. It all depends on what you mean by money. I could say
"money is buying power" but somebody could equally say "money is selling
power" because if I own a sum of money, I can e.g. issue debt securities of
some kind against that sum.

Marx's account of the origin of money is not a simplistic liberal myth at
all, it says that monetization is a necessary result of commodification
which in turn is the outgrowth of the development of the division of labour,
and that is a testable hypothesis. If it was historically the case, as the
left-reformists argue, that commodification and the division of labour are
the result of state monetization, then Marx's theory is false.

In fact, if Marx's story is read carefully, his argument turns out to be
much more sophisticated that the Left-Keynesian interpretation you support.
He anticipates the credit theory of money, and refers specifically to the
misery of the French farmers under Louis XIV caused by the fiscal and
monetary regime, contrasting this with the Asian modes of production and the
Ottoman Empire. Moreover, if you ignore the fake rantings of the New Marxist
Exploiting Classes and the philosophes, and just read Marx himself, you will
see that he explicitly refers to "state compulsion" precisely in his
discussion of the money-form.

Marx was very much aware of the role of the state, and this becomes very
clear in numerous passages in Capital Vol. 1 (notably the chapter on
primitive accumulation) and in other writings, such as the Grundrisse and
his journalistic articles. You should however bear in mind that in Marx's
own time, the total state expenditure and taxation represented no more than
5-10% of the national income, and that the purpose of his unfinished
analysis was primarily to give and exposition of the capitalist mode of

Typically the bourgeois Left argues for state distribution of resources, and
the bourgeois Right argues for commercial distribution of resources. The New
Marxist Exploiting Classes (the Trotskyists, Stalinists, Maoists, etc.)
typically side with the bourgeois Left, unless they already own the state
resources, and can grab wealth from privatising public assets. By contrast,
Marx offers a class perspective in which, from a workers' point of view, it
is no different if it happens to be the state or the market, since both aim
to extract a surplus from him and enrich themselves from his product.

I could provide much more precise references on Kauri shells, because that
data is available, but I get tired of doing other people's work for them,
that is all. In my experience, the Marxists always want me to provide all
the evidence, research and arguments for them and solve the key problems
while they just "authoritatively" watch the catwalk, and make all kinds of
grandiose statements without providing a shred of evidence or logical proof,
and referring to numbers which they don't understand the meaning of
themselves. It's got to stop sometime.


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