[OPE] All about the money

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu Jun 11 2009 - 13:57:46 EDT


I realize we are in a a fight now about the theory of money and Marx's
intellectual reputation, but let's remember we are friends anyhow united in
seeking to pursue the truth although pulling no punches. We share the same
concerns, even if we may be at odds with each other just now.

Why don't you have a read of: Jan Hogedorn, Marion Johnson and David
Anderson, "The Shell Money and the Slave Trade". Cambridge University Press,
2003. Although this one is about Africa, it makes reference to the Pacific.

I say it again: there is not a shred of historical evidence that it was the
state which originally invented money. It gives too much credit to the
state, as the organiser of exchange. But, as I said before, this statement
is conditional on how you define money. Following Marx, money is the
universal equivalent in exchange. The argument is, that such univeral
equivalents have existed, although either (1) the state did not issue them,
or (2) was not in control of them.

The reference to Google wasn't really serious, except in the sense of: do
some research yourself, investigate things properly.

You say: I think there is a significant body of evidence that the
establishment of a universal equivalent was an act of state power.

Well then, produce the evidence! My argument is, that such universal
equivalents existed, regardless or despite of what the state was doing, or
even whether a state existed. Scientifically speaking, of course, we ought
to distinguish between different sorts of cases:

1) There is a universal equivalent, but there is no state.
2) There is a state, but it does not issue a universal equivalent (and,
there is a universal equivalent present).
3) There is a state, but it does not "control" the universal equivalent in
4) There is a state, which issues a universal equivalent, but it is not "in
control over any universal equivalent".
5) There is a state, it is formally in control of a universal equivalent,
but in reality it is not.

... and so on.

When Marx tried to describe the "merry dance of commodities and money" in
the first chapters of Das Kapital, in a more attractive and prosaic
narrative than he had used in his previous book, which failed to sell, the
difference between the reifications of commerce and the human realities
involved was uppermost in his mind. As he explained himself in
correspondence, he was trying to create a puzzle in people's minds, get them
to problematize what was actually involved in the trading relations, and
intellectually "set traps" for them, to break them out of the drudgery of
conventional, stuffy and reified thinking. The so-called "Marxists" do not
understand this, and complain that Marx does not serve them up with a
complete history of money in his chapters, which would be compatible with an
article by Innes, since all Marx does, is provide a brief sketch of the
internal logic of the forms of commodity trade, which necessarily lead to
the creation of money in some or other form, whatever the particular
historical circumstances may be.

The so-called Marxists claim, that Marx had a Keynesian theory of money, a
Ricardian theory of foreign trade, a Proudhonist theory of democracy, and so
on and so forth. It really doesn't wash, and it is clear that these
"Marxists" in truth haven't got a clue what Marx was really talking about.

As I have said, due to misadventure, I did not adequately shape up the
theory of money (lacking the time), and therefore am reluctant to pronounce
on this crap just now. Quite simply, IMO there are very few books on the
history of money that are fully objective, and so far, I have never read
any. Perhaps, objectivity about money is impossible, but I leave that as an
open and unsolved question as yet.


Don't take no for an answer (x3)
When you've nothing to lose... no you
Don't take no for an answer( x3)
Put yourself in my shoes

- Tom Robinson Band, "Don't take no for an answer"

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