(OPE-L) Shopping with Claus

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Jun 09 2004 - 08:06:36 EDT

Prelude w/commentary

"Money is a crystal (misleading choice of words, JL) formed
of necessity in the course of the exchanges, whereby products
of labour are *practically* equated to one another and thus by
*practice* converted into commodities." (CI, Kerr ed., p. 99,
emphasis added)

Money must serve as a medium of exchange (or, to use Marx's
terminology, a medium of circulation).  Where there is a money
commodity system, the money commodity itself  (e.g. gold) and
symbols and tokens of value serve this practical need.  This
means then that in a system with a money commodity, then the
money commodity itself must be able to serve -- under ordinary
circumstances -- as a medium of circulation.


                ***SHOPPING WITH CLAUS***

Scene 1:

JL is in his apartment when the telephone rings. He  answers
the telephone:

JL: "Hello."

CG: "Jerry, this is Claus.  Claus Germer.  I'm in New York
City for the day.  Is it possible for us to meet?"

JL: "Claus! What a surprise!  As it happens, I'm not teaching
today so, yes, we *can* meet."

CG: "Great!  I'm in midtown Manhattan now at Grand Central

JL: "Well, would you like to go to 'The Strand' bookstore?"

CG: "Sure!  Could you refresh my memory?  How do I get
there by public transportation?"

JL: "Take the 4, 5, or 6 downtown to Union Square and walk
a couple of blocks to Broadway and 12th Street."

CG: "Okay, I'll meet you there in ...?"

JL: "Half an hour?"

CG:  "Great. See you then."

JL:  "By the way, what are you in New York City for?  Are you
presenting a paper before the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?"

CG: [laughter] "See you in 30 minutes!"

Scene 2:

CG: (clutching several books in his arm): "The economics section is
smaller than when I was here in the past."

JL:  "Yes,  they have been 'remodeling.'  Let's look in the 'review'
section and the social science section."

(...some time later... Klaus is standing in front of the cash register
with a half dozen books. ).

Worker at Strand:  "That will be $197.50.  Cash or charge?"

CG (reaching into his jacket pocket): "Gold."

"Worker at Strand (long pause; stares at gold):  "I'm sorry sir.
We don't accept ... gold.  Do you have cash or a credit card?
We accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express."

CG: "Gold is money.  Why won't you accept it?"

Worker at Strand:  "I'm sorry sir. If you have proper identification
we will accept a personal check.  We also accept travelers checks."

JL: "Claus, don't you have any Federal Reserve Notes with you?

CG:  "I didn't think I'd need it."

JL: "Okay, I'll put it on my card and you can pay me back later
today."  (thereby indicating that this is a *fictional* short story!)

Scene 3:

(Outside of 'The Strand')

JL:  "Would you like to go to lunch now?"

CG:  "Sure."

JL: "Okay, I know a good Thai restaurant a couple of blocks away
that has relatively inexpensive lunch specials.  It's called the Montien
Restaurant on 3rd Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets."

CG: "Sounds great. Let's go."

(some time later.  JL and CG are seated at a table in the restaurant)

CG:  "That was great, Jerry.  Thanks for recommending this place.
The Pad Kaprow was excellent and the salad was really fresh."

(Waiter puts bill on table. Claus picks up bill and looks at it. CG then
motions to waiter who then approaches the table)

CG:  "You do accept gold, don't you?"

Waiter:  "Gold? (pause) No, I'm sorry sir, we don't accept ...gold.
We do accept ..."

JL (interrupting):  "Claus, I'll take care of it. You can pay me back

[After CG and JL leave restaurant]

CG:  "Is there some place nearby where I can exchange my gold
for symbols and tokens of value?"

JL: "There are some places in walking distance near Canal Street
where that can be done."

CG: "Do you mind if we do that next?"

JL: "Why not -- it's a nice day.  It's a good thing you are in
Manhattan now."

CG: "Why is that, Jerry?"

JL: "Most locations in this country don't have *any* place where
you can exchange gold for U.S. dollars.  By the way, Claus ..."

CG: "Yes, Jerry?"

JL: "Claus, my friend and comrade,  next time you come to New
York and want to go shopping please bring some Federal
Reserve Notes with you.  Or, at least, bring a credit card."

                                      -- THE END --

In solidarity, Jerry

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