[OPE-L:1861] Re: the money supply

Subject: [OPE-L:1861] Re: the money supply
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 08 1999 - 07:42:05 EST

Re Claus's [OPE-L:1858]:

> I may have overstated it. However, what I said is at least in part true,
> because, as I understand from what you say below, you not only object to
> gold being money today, but you also object that in Marx's theory money has
> to be a commodity. My strongest statement is not that gold is money today,
> but that there can't be the least doubt that in Marx's theory money must be
> a commodity.

We can agree that Marx had a theory in which the money commodity played a
crucial role. I don't think there can be any doubt about this. However,
my point is that commodity money - despite Marx's beliefs to the contrary
- is not an essential (i.e. non-contingent) characteristic of capitalism.

If one is going to claim, to the contrary, that gold is still the money
commodity, then one has the task of demonstrating *how* this is the case.

If one is going to also claim that commodity money is an essential
characteristic of both Marx's theory and capitalism, ***then what happens
if and when gold no longer is the money commodity***??? It seems to me
that one would then be backed-into the position of claiming that
a) Marx's [entire!] theory is out-dated and irrelevant!; and b) capitalism
has been transcended!!!

*If* b) were true, then that poses *all sorts* of issues. E.g. could we
end capitalism by blowing-up the gold supply? (thus, a bus load of TNT
placed in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York could deal
capitalism a mortal blow?) ; would capitalists become their *own*
gravediggers when they have eliminated gold as the money commodity?

As fanciful as these questions seem, they would nonetheless be questions
we would have to ask *if* we accept your theoretical perspective *yet*
have compelling evidence that gold is no longer the money commodity.

Thus, it is the interpretation of recent history which becomes the most
important component of this discussion.

> > On the other hand, have there been any empirical investigations using
> > value categories which have assumed that gold *is* the money
> > commodity?
> Not that I know. If somebody has information about it, I would very much
> like to know.

Does it bother you that there, apparently, have been no such studies?

Even if there have not been such studies to date, do you think that such
studies are *possible*? If so, how?

In solidarity, Jerry

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