[OPE-L:7303] [OPE-L:832] Re: Say's Law (question on Duncan's interpretation)

Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 6 Apr 1999 02:52:41 -0400 (EDT)

I just wanted to add to:

> Yet Duncan F writes: "Again, a rise in T(c) or T(f) [time delays in
> workers spending their wages and capitalists using monetary assets to
> finance new production, respectively] will create a crisis of generalised
> overproduction of commodities. In principle an expansion of money
> commodity production could offset such changes in spending delays."

This formulation strikes me as fetishistic; the money that is the servant
of the exchange of commodities, and itself a commodity, is thought to have
fetishistic, i.e., magic powers of compulsion by itself, and it is
believed that a shortage of money causes stagnation.

Leaving aside how currency inflation may be used as a mode of
insidiously reducing real wages and thus altering the relations of
production towards the additional production of surplus value, Marx's
part one is a critique of the common delusion that the difficulties of
society are found in the sphere of circulation.

If we are going to develop and critique Marx's argument, we first have to
get it on the table that he critiqued as exactly *fetishistic* the
quantity theory of money and the common delusion that a shortage of money
causes stagnation in trade.

Compare Duncan F' treatment of the quantity theory of money, p. 24ff in
Understanding Capital to Blake's, pp137ff

We can't get there if Ajit wishes to put part one in the straightjacket of
a Walrasian problematic. I tried to suggest to him that the theory of
commodity fetishism is multifaceted; it is a theory of alienation,it is
also a theory of attribution of social relations to material things (I
gave him two simple examples), and it underpins Marx's critique of
populist monetary solutions to crisis.

Yours, Rakesh