[OPE-L:4687] Re: use-value of money

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 07:35:46 -0700 (PDT)

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> Mike W wrote in [OPE-L:4664]:
> > > > Alejandro Ramos:
> > > > What is the use-value of money?
> > > It does not have one - see my EEA97 working paper.
> >If money doesnt have a use-value, why is it used?
> As I argue in my paper, to be socially or privately 'useful (as Money is)
> does not exhaust the import of the category 'use-value. Use-value is one
> moment of Commodity, in contradictory unity with Value. Money has no Value
> and no use-value, rather it is the sole autonomous existence of Value as
> form.

Mike, thanks for your comment!!

I agree: Money doesnt have a use-value and then cannot be a
commodity. This means that all interpretations in which Marx's
money is presented as a "commodity" are misleading. For example,
these system of equations in which one can use "cotton", "grain" or
"gold" as "money" are neglecting important aspects of Marx's monetary

Money is a "general object" which main function is to represent and
to conserve, in a autonomous form, abstract social labor-time.

However, it is clear that Marx's text can easily be interpreted as a
proposal of a "money-commodity" theory. In effect, he "assumes that
money is gold" in Ch. 3, Vol. I. But, even in this case, I think that
this "gold" is no longer a "commodity" because insofar as it is
performing the function of money, it has no use value. Of course *if
it ceases to be money* and becomes an input for jewellery, then is a

Sometimes Marx defines money as a "general commodity". A "general
commodity" means that the commodity as such (let us say, sugar,
cotton, etc.) is negated; a "general commodity" is no longer a
commodity but it is in close connection with the particular
commodities. In the definition "general commodity" there is some
"dialectic derivation" which we can explore in detail.

Alejandro R.