[OPE-L:1319] Re: Gold, The Universal Equivalent & Rent

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 08:20:33 -0800

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Given both of us are confining our questions and answers,
I tend to agree with what you say. However, given that
most computations of relative prices and the rate of profit
are based upon sets of material inputs and outputs where
the number of products is equal to the number of processes
and the rate of profit is uniform, how can the money commodity
which does earn rent in both forms be included?


On Tue, 5 Mar 1996 Paul_Cockshott <wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk> said:

>2. Must the money commodity or the universal equivalent
> be produced by a sector that produces rent or is a
> natural monopoly? History seems to say that this must
> be the case. Logic?
>To be a good money commodity, something should
>be durable, have a high value density, and
>have a relatively stable value.
>Durablility essentially rules out highly valuable
>vegetable products like saffron. Stability of value
>rules out most manufactured durables, since the
>progress of the arts tends to depress their values.
>We are then left with mineral products, and ones
>which are systematically hard to extract to ensure
>their high value density. This implies elements
>which are comparatively rare. Durability favours
>unreactive elements - silver, gold, platinum,
>rhubidium etc, and stable isotopes. Plutonium
>has a high value density, but is hard to handle.
>The natural processes which concentrate such
>elements are random and produce a spectrum of
>ores of different concentrations. This implies
>the preconditions for rent of mines.