[OPE-L:2379] Re: commodity money in Marx's theory

Chai-on Lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Mon, 27 May 1996 23:17:50 -0700

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Riccardo wrote in [2369];

(i) Eventually, value is labour because it is the amount of
labour producing the money who 'buys' the commodity.

In the above, a purchasing power itself is seen as value. Even a mere
threat of roberry or a fraud can then be a value in the name of
exchange. How could you distinguish the two cases?

(ii) being money a commodity, it has a labour content prior the exchange on
the commodity market at the end of the monetary circuit
(the cycle of money capital of a given period); moreover, it has a
labour content prior the exchange on the labour market => hence,
the value of labour power is given as an amount of labour hours
before the valorization process, even though the wage is advanced
in money terms and the means of subsistence bought at the end of
the circuit. The value of labour power is here simply the labour
required to produce the 'equivalent'.


IMO, "valorization" means in its literal sense, what was previously a
non-value becomes a value. The "valorization" of capital in that
context is therefore to be seen as that a use-value transforms itself
into a value. The use-value of labor-power consists in the ability to
create more value than its own value. When a labor-power actually
produced a value more than its own magnitude, the use-value is

So, the value of labour power must be given as an amount of labour
hours before the valorization process regardless of whether money
is a commodity or not.

(iii) being money a commodity, and assuming that the potential value
produced will be 'realised' on the market, we can also know the surplus
value as surplus labour before the determination of prices.
Surplus value is here the surplus labour required to produce the
extra money;


It has nothing to do with the fact that money is a commodity to know the
surplus value is a surplus labor.

(iv) When the presupposition of exchange as such at the beginning of
Capital is shown to be capitalist exchange - that is, general
exchange preceded by capitalist production which must be
financed. This money must be money as a pure symbol, nowadays bank credit


I cannot understand here why money is to be a pure symbol on account
of the capitalist exchange.

(vii) my position is that restating the labour theory of value within a
credit theory of money allows us: (a) to see money (as capital) at the
beginning of the circuit as command over (wage) labour time; (b) to see in
production a pre-commensuration of labour which permit us
to add workers' labour time before final exchange; (iii) to maintain the
'core' of Marxian theory, exploitation as a process going on in
production before the determination of prices; (d) to rescue the gist of
Marx's transformation problem as the logical priority of 'values' over
'prices'. Here there is a change on Marx's basic categories
(money, value, etc.) which is nevertheless done in view of Marx's
most important insights.


Those from (a) to (d) are also possible even with the commodity money.
Those cannot be the advantage of the non-commodity money

(viii) I take however as my peculiarity the deduction of
exploitation in a monetary setting where money is *first of all* (bank
credit money) finance. I understand that for most of you money is discussed
*first of all* as measure of value and/or means of exchange and/or store of
value. I think this is true for most of the so
called value form approach, and the so called abstract labour reading of
Marx. It is not a chance that most of the people who worked in these
approaches abandoned Marx.


The substance of value, which is said to be the creator of value,
should exist IMO before the value is created. This is by definition. If
"A is created by B", "B must have existed prior to A". Otherwise, how can
the B create the A? My mother gave a birth to me only when she
existed well before I was born. In like manner, the abstract labor
must exist before the value is created by abstract labor.

If the value is in the unity of production and exchange, by the same
token, the substance of value (the abstract labor) must exist at the
latest and in the least prior to exchange.

Because of the organism of social production, value is in the organic unity
of production and exchange. Nevertheless, value's
mode of existence is differentiated into two forms, potential (latent)
form and real form, not because the abstract labor exists in the
exchange alone but because the receptacle of value (value cannot
exist without its container) must pass through the two distinct
phases of production and exchange discretely. So, one form is
called a latent form and the other a realised form. The value that
failed to be realised must have been a non-value before it failed.
Only non-values can be realised as a non-value. A latent value, if it
fails to be realised, can only be destroyed.

In OPE_L solidarity,