Re: Money and Mind

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 07:18:58 EDT

Costas, and all,

Alot going on at once in this thread. It may not look like it but my exchange with
Costas is germane, in my view:

On 31 May 2004 at 18:15, Costas Lapavitsas wrote:

> HI Andy,
> Just a brief point, I do not think that the attempt to specify the
> analytical process of money's emergence amounts to searching for a
> constant measure of value. It is more to do with identifying what
> makes money uniquely different.

Costas, obviously we have to know what money is, as part of grasping how it
emerges. Obviously, the quantitative aspect of money is essential to its' nature.
Now, without a constant unit of measure of purchasing power, it should be clear that
money cannot be essentially viewed as 'absolute purchasing power'. If that is all
money is, then it could not in principle be explained, because we could never
explain its' quantity through time (and we know its' quantity is essential to its'
nature). Ontologically, its' quantity, and hence nature, would have to be seen as in
principle due a result of myriad random factors.

To try an analogy: 'explaining' the emergence of money whilst abstracting from the
existence and substance of value is like 'explaining' the emergence of language
whilst abstracting from the fact that it achieves reference, that it has a semantic as
well as syntactic side.

The first three pages of ch.1, vol. 1 of 'Capital' seem to me to articulate the key to
this argument: Marx points out that commodities have 'many' exchanges values, not
just one, and that, therefore, a third thing must underlie commodities as exchange
values. I take it you reject Marx's specifc argument in these particular pages?

Many thanks,


> Costas

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