chaion lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 01:11:46 -0800

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In reply to Mattick (OPE-L:657).

Thank you for your reply. This is a rejoinder.

Money differs from an ordinary commodity in that it has a real value
before it is exchanged. I made a mistake in the previous post in saying
that it also has a potential value when it is produced. It has a real value
the moment it is produced. It needs not be exchanged to have a real
social value. Let me take an example.
A road construction is of a directly social character even before it is
used. The labor involved in it is a directly social labor even if the road
would be destroyed by a bombing raid when it is finished. Money has
the same character. It is produced as if it were to order. Money is
always on demand. So, it is socially useful even if it is buried in a tomb
by an earthquake before it is exchanged.
You say, it cannot be socially useful if it is eventually not used. Can
it not be socially useful if it is hoarded and never brought to light? If I
lose a book in a fire by accident just after I bought it, can the labor that
produced it not count as a social labor?
Money is produced as if it was already on order. It need not be
exchanged to prove socially useful. This is the key point. Money differs
from other ordinary commodities only in this.

Thanks again,

Chai-on Lee