[OPE-L:2480] Re: commodity money in Marx's theory

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Wed, 5 Jun 1996 15:50:22 -0700

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In the midst of a long and illuminating series of propositions on the
development of Marxist thought from commodity money (and labour power) to
something else, Riccardo says that he seeks to:

to maintain the 'core' of Marxian
theory, exploitation as a process going on in production before the
determination of prices

Michael W. is puzzled:
I cannot see why you want to or even can maintain such a theory of exploitation.
1. At a general level, exploitation is systemic, rather than one-sidedly located
in production
2. Labour is exploited because of formal subordination, more concrete mechanisms
of real subordination and separation from control of the surplus to the
production of which it has contributed.
3. There is a quantitative element of this exploitation - the difference between
the value of the wage and the value of the output produced. But this is only
determined in the on-going system of production and exchange.

Riccardo later goes on:
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

Michael W.
Just a historiographic correction. The Reuten/Williams version of the value form
approach introduces money first in the presentation (at the highest level of
abstraction) as the sole autonomous quantitive manifestation of value. At a
somewhat lower level, it emerges in the discussion of the capitalist economy
first as production and trade credit (a development from the French
post-Aglietta regulation school). Which sounds at first glance similar to your
(BTW, I do not consider myself to have 'abandoned Marx', as Riccardo claims

Riccardo, I would appreciate a copy of your new paper on all this when it is
finished. My postal address is:
Dr Michael Williams
Department of Economics
School of Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Kents Hill
Milton Keynes

Have you thought of submitting a version of this to my colleague Steve
Fleetwood's proposed collection, as well as whichever journal it is destined

Can you let me have references to your earlier papers on money?


Comradely greetings

Michael W.