(OPE-L) Re: recent references on 'problem' of money commodity?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Nov 20 2004 - 04:27:12 EST

> I suspect (though I don't have strong evidence for this, and it's
> hard to find evidence, since the market price of gold has long been
> a creature of central bank policy and speculation) that over the
> long run the rate of technical progress in gold production tends to
> lag that in the economy at large.


This proposition seems to be more supportive of the Varga thesis
than that of Bauer,  Spectator (M. Nakhimson) and Kautsky
in the debate on gold production and inflation.  All of the latter
group emphasized an increasing composition of capital in the
gold-mining branch of production.  At the time, I think, the
statistical evidence -- as presented by Bauer and Spectator -- supported
this proposition.  (Bauer also claimed that the decreasing costs of
gold production were additionally caused by the employment of
cheaper labour-power in South Africa).  This appeal to the special
conditions of production in the gold-mining branch of production
as an explanation for the general rise in prices was objected to by
Varga who claimed that if there is technological progress in gold-
mining production this only increases differential rents within that

I don't have recent statistics that could shed light on whether
the composition of capital in the gold-mining branch of production
is higher or lower than the average across branches of production
(perhaps Claus or Akira have recent statistics?).

In any event, I see no reason for supposing that over the long-term
the composition of capital in gold-mining production will lag behind
the rest of the economy.  What would happen in your thought
experiment if:

a) the composition of capital in gold-mining is equal to the social

b) the composition of capital in gold-mining is higher than the
social average?

In solidarity, Jerry


Bauer, Otto _DieTeuerung.  Eine Einhuhrung in die Wirtschaftspolitik
der Sozialdemokratie_ Wien, Verlag der Volksbuchhandlung Ignaz
Brand & Co., 1910

---------- "Goldproduktion und Teuerung" _Die Neue Zeit_ 30 Jg,
1911/1912, II Bd, pp. 4-14; 49-53; 246-247

J.v.G. "Goldproduktion und Preisbeweung"  _Die Neue Zeit_, 30
Jg., 1911/1912, I Bd, pp. 660-664

Kautsky, Karl _The High Cost of Living_, Chicago, Charles H. Kerr
& Co, 1915 [published online at http://www.marxists.org  ]

----------- "Gold, Papier, und Ware" _Die Neue Zeit_, Vol. 30/31,
pp. 836-47; 886-893

Levy, Gerald "Goldproduction and Inflation:  A Post-Mortem on
the Debate in Pre-World War I German-Austrian Social Democracy",
unpublished seminar paper, 1982

Mjoset, Lars "The Debate on Goldproduction and Inflation Within
Austrian and German Social Democracy before World War I",
unpublished seminar paper, 1982 [both of the above submitted for
a seminar at the New School, 208S, by Willi Semmler on "Selected
topics in Advanced Political Economy: Theories of Competition
and Price" -- *Lars*-- if  you read this, send me an email.  I'd like
to know how you are.]

Spectator, "Zur Frage der Goldproduktion und Teuerung" _Die
Neue Zeit_, 30 Jg., 1911/1912, II Bd, pp. 550-553

Varga, Eugen "Goldproduktion und Teuerung" _Die Neue Zeit_,
30 Jg, 1911/1912, I Bd, pp. 212-220

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