[OPE-L:2405] Re: commodity money in Marx's theory

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Wed, 29 May 1996 06:08:12 -0700

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At 3:42 29-05-1996 -0700, 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?
>But the theory of money as the universal equivalent is not
>incompatible with the retreat of commodity money into the hoards of
>central banks. Granted the operations of the financial system and the
>determination of the aggregate price level are different but how is
>the 'evolutionary' view a hindrance in analysing this?

I think that Marxist theory could accomodate pre and post 1971 events. My
point is a theoretical one: is not a money commodity system simply a
limiting case of extended barter? is not in the nature of money to be a
final means of payment precisely excluding barter and mere bilateral
credit? is not money commodity something which must be capistically
produced, and hence financed? I would here revert the argument which goes
from money commodity to valueless money. I would rather side with
Schumpeter, saying that logically the credit money is prior to the money
commodity, though historically the process *may* go on in the other
direction - BTW, there are a lot of studies who question even this.

>I have yet to see a clear argument why commodity money is a
>problematic analytical starting point for monetary theory. Marxists
>have a vague sense of guilt about this while commodity-money-based
>models continue to appear in neoclassical academic journals.
No: you have a lot of money commodity both in general equilibrium and
Austrian contributions.


I see however that there is a fault on my side here. I should be able to
expose my position in more detail than I can do to support my position, or
simply to state it with full background - and sometimes use the reply
button too early. I apologise for that. I cannot devote all the time needed
to the list; but at the same time I do not always stay silent, as I should.

That is also because most of this exchanges are useful *on my side*, since
I receive a lot to think, and to refine - and even redefine - my position.


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