[OPE-L:676] Re:

Steve.Keen@unsw.edu.au (Steve.Keen@unsw.edu.au)
Fri, 8 Dec 1995 12:15:09 -0800

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Chai-on Lee posts:

|PS: I fail to see what you are talking about in the reply to my point.
|My point was this: if money is a mere symbol, it then would be by
|definition a purely social one, and then it could not be owned privately,
|nor privately produced. A mere symbol cannot have a value, then it
|cannot measure a value, then it cannot function as money.

I see this as thinking of money as a commodity, whose exchange-value
is determined by its value, the socially necessary labor-time that
went into its production. This is consistent with Marx's presentation
in Vol. I, but he argued something fundamentally different--and in
my opinion superior--in Vol III and Theories of Surplus Value Parts II
and III. I have cited these passages before; what they argue is that
money is the unique commodity whose exchange-value is set by
its use-value.

In that case, it *can* be a mere symbol, and yet have exchange-value,
even though it lacks value. To briefly cite Marx on this:

"What the buyer of an ordinary commodity, buys is its use-value; what
he pays for is its value. What the borrower of money buys is likewise
its use-value as capital; but what does he pay for? Surely not its price,
or value, as in the case of ordinary commodities." (Marx
1894, p. 352.)

Steve Keen