[OPE-L:2401] Re: commodity money in Marx's theory

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Tue, 28 May 1996 23:17:56 -0700

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At 9:28 28-05-1996 -0700, Costas Lapavitsas wrote:
>Some points on the discussion of Marx and commodity money - coaxed by
>Jerry, the gist summarised in a paper I would have presented as EEA
>had I gone (Alan has it).
>I think that Marx's theory is that money is the necessarily emerging
>independent form of value. The problem is then to analyse the
>forms which money takes in the course of development of capitalist
>exchange, and this requires that we explicitly establish the
>adequacy of the particular form of money for the functions money
>must perform in exchange. Specifically, valueless fiat money
>can, and must, emerge in the performance of the means of exchange
>function. Valueless credit money (banknotes, deposits, and so on)
>can, and must, emerge in the performance of the means of payment and
>hoarding functions. Commodity money, far from hindering us, shows the
>path of development and the path of analysis. It also prevents us
>from doing violence to the labour theory of value.

I think this is a fair account of Marx's original presentation, and its
consequences. But what if we have reason to think that in a monetary
economy money is *from the start* valueless money? The evolutionary account
of money, from the money commodity to the money sign, etc., is quite
widespread: it is, for example, one of the strongholds of the Austrian
theory of money.


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975