[OPE-L:2418] RE: commodity money in Marx's theory

Chai-on Lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Wed, 29 May 1996 22:57:10 -0700

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Dear Michael:

Thank you for your post.

You wrote:

Money is not independent of values, because their only quantitative
expression is as systematic money prices. For well known reasons,
labour is the sole necessary primary factor of production of surplus-value -
and both the abstraction from specific and differentially skilled labours
to abstract labour, and the money expression of labour are real outcomes of
the operations of that, market reproduced, system.


If, as you said, 'their [values'] only quantitative expression is as
systematic money prices', values are to be independent of money.
And the monetary expressions should be dependent on values.
But, in your case, both are mutually dependent. This is a problem
with you. A temperature is expressed in the height of mercury. This
does not imply that the temperature is dependent on the mercury.


I used to accept something like the commodity view, largely because
that is what my elders and betters, back to Marx himself, seemed to
believe. Now, I find it difficult to even conceive of this murky stuff, a
value substance, and see no reason as a critical political
economist, or as a revolutionary socialist, to try. You several times claim
that money cannot be pure quantity - but give no reason why


The reason is simple. But you never listen to what I say.
If money is not a commodity, then the exchange between money and a
product of labor is no more a commodity exchange but a primitive
accumulation. I said this four times directly to you. But you simply
ignored it. Secondly, the non-commodity money cannot function as the
means of debt-payment. I said this, too several times. But you say
I gave no reason.