[OPE-L:3343] Re: TSS and Value of Money

Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 14:45:33 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

On Duncan's comments on the relative maturity of Vol I vs Vols II/III,
no argument: I was finished after III. But remember the 6 book plan! In
Volume I, Marx was holding many things constant which would later be
varied to generalise the analysis.

Thus in Volume I, for example, Marx treats the wage as equal to the
value of labor-power. But there are numerous instances in other works
where he refers to the value of labor-power as being the *minimum* wage
(see cites below). This indicates that, in a later volume, Marx intended
loosening the assumption of Vol I that labor was simply a commodity like
any other commodity (which he used to derive the source of labor-power),
and taking account of the fact that, while a commodity in one sense, it
is a non-commodity in the very important senses that (a) it is sentient
(b) it is not produced for profit.

These non-commodity aspects of labor-power mean that its "sellers",
laborers, are quite rightly not content with receiving only its value in
return--and hence you have a basis for class struggle over the wage,
with the minimum representing the value of labor-power, and the addition
representing getting a slice of the surplus.

Ditto on money. In Vol. I, Marx starts with a treatment of money where
it, like everything else, is a commodity. But in later volumes, he can
relax that assumption to take account of the (obvious?) non-commodity
aspects of money--that it is not produced by means of other commodities,
but by fiat (in the case of notes issues) or by agreement between
borrower and lender (in the case of credit).

So in this sense, "maturity" in terms of which volume was written last
translates into *immaturity* in terms of the sophistication and
generality of the argument. Had Marx lived another, say, 50 years -:),
I'm sure he would have written Vols II, III, and many more after Vol I,
but with added generality going with added age.

Duncan K. Foley wrote:
> In reply to Steve's [OPE-L:3325]:
> I'd second Paul C.'s comments on the force of the quoted passage on money.
> As I understand it, Volume I was in fact drafted after Volume III, and thus
> has some reason to be regarded as Marx's mature position.
> Duncan
> Duncan K. Foley
> Department of Economics
> Barnard College
> New York, NY 10027
> (212)-854-3790
> fax: (212)-854-8947
> e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu