[OPE-L:2404] Re: commodity money in Marx's theory

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 29 May 1996 05:37:32 -0700

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On Wed, 29 May 1996, Costas Lapavitsas wrote:

> Riccardo asked where the 'evolutionary' view of money would stand if
> we started with non-commodity money.
> And why should we do this? What is there to be gained by abandoning a
> significant part of Marxist (and Classical) theory when this theory
> actually helps us analyse non-commodity money? Is it simply the
> abolition of the formal links with gold since 1971, or the
> progressive diminution of the role of gold in the twentieth century?

I think Riccardo was referring to the "revisionist" account of the
origins of money, that has been championed by Randall Wray, among
others. According to this view, the standard evolutionary
account (starting with commodity money) is a myth, and money
really originated as debt (and as a unit of account, rather than
as means of payment). Personally, I am inclined to reserve
judgment until I have studied the matter more fully -- but the
argument is not to be lightly dismissed.

Allin Cottrell.