[OPE-L:5282] Re: Metal money

M Williams (Michael@mwilliam.u-net.com)
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 11:59:38 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

At 05:02 17/06/97 -0700, Chai-on wrote:

>You said,
>>Are you claiming that the socially
>>necessary abstract labour time required to (re)produce 15 x $1000 notes is
>>equal to that required to produce the Ford Sierra car that $15K can buy? I
>>think not. (A similar question could be asked about the complex of
>>commodities need to reproduce an e-money system.)
>Yes, I am with the transformation problem apart. Otherwise, how can we
>claim the equilevant exchange?

Michael W:
The 'equivalent exchange' is between the car and the potato crisps. The
money mediates this excahnge, and can do so without sharing any 'substance'
in common with either of the commodities

>Do you get the $15K note with less labor
>than the Sierra costs? Then you should be lucky as you have won an
>advantage over the Sierra producer. For the CB, money costs little. Yet the
>notes in the hands of the CB are not yet called money. Some non-producers
>closely linked with the CB can get money with little labor but other
>ordinary people cannot get it in that way.

Michael W:
This is not quite clear. I thought we were discussing the quantity of
Abstract Labour incorporated in the money-object, initially posited in the
production of that money object (say a $ bill). But what you seem to be
referring to here is the amount of Labour that I (for example) have to
expend in order to *earn* a certain quantity of Money, in whatever object it
may be expressed. This is quite different. Of course, on average, a certain
quantity of paper money represents both what I can earn in a certain time,
and the value of a Ford Sierra. But there is no pretense that I could (at
the margin) either build myself a Ford Sierra or make myself 15 1,000 bills
in the same time it takes me to earn the equivalent of the car's price,
15K! What is more this representation of the exchange value of my labour
power, and the value of the car does not require that Money (or even the
Money object) be a commodity; or that that it is a commodity has anything to
do with its ability to bear the functions of Money.

Lets try another thought experiment: do you think that, in general, the
amount of labur time taken to produce one $1, 000 bill is equal to that
required to produce one thoasand $1 bills, or one hundred-thoasand 1 cent
coins? If so, why?

>Mike :
>>Quite. And a Value not locked in contradictory unity with a Use-Value, is
>>not a Commodity.
>Your definition of commodity seems to revolve around the existence of
>use-value. IMO, however, value is more crucial than the use-value to the
>definition of commodity.

Michael W:
It is clear from Marx's own work that for him a (captialist) Commodity is
the irreducible, contradictory unity of Value and Use-value. Both are
equally crucial to the characterisation of Commodity as an element of the
Capitalist system.

Comradely greetings
| Michael@mwilliam.u-net.com |
| "Books are Weapons" |
Dr Michael Williams
Department of Economics Home:
School of Social Sciences 26 Glenwood Avenue
De Montfort University Southampton
Hammerwood Gate SO16 3QA
Kents Hill
Milton Keynes
tel:+1908 834876 tel/fax: +1703 768641
fax:+1908 834979
additional email addresses:
mwilliam@torres.mk.dmu.ac.uk mwilliam@compuserve.com