(OPE-L) Re: Jacob van Gelderen

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Mon Nov 22 2004 - 08:32:47 EST

After the 4th para. in Jurriaan's message, there is an intervention
on the "recent references on 'problem' of money commodity?"
thread./ In solidarity, Jerry

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <andromeda246@hetnet.nl>
To: "Gerald A. Levy" <Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com>
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 6:19 AM
Subject: Re: (OPE-L) Jacob van Gelderen

 Of course I am familiar with those works, but not only that, I translated
 Marcel's essay into English (although this is not acknowledged in the
 journal): Marcel van der Linden, "Marx and Engels, Dutch Marxism, and the
 Model Capitalist Nation of the Seventeenth Century", Science and Society
 (New York), 61 (1997), pp. 161-192.

 I also translated by the same author 'The Origins, Spread, and
Normalization of Free Wage Labour", in:  Tom Brass and Marcel Van Der
Linden (eds.), Free  and Unfree Labour: The Debate Continues (International
and Comparative  Social History, 5). New York: Peter Lang AG, 1997, pp.

 For a debate on Dutch merchant capitalism, see my translations in FBC
 Review: Ad Knotter "A New Theory of Merchant Capitalism?", in: Review of
the  Fernand Braudel Center (New York), Vol. XX, Number 2, Spring 1997;  Jan
 Luiten van Zanden, "Do We Need a Theory of Merchant Capitalism?'', in:
 Review of the Fernand Braudel Center (New York),  Vol. XX, Number 2, Spring
 1997; Ad Knotter, "Afterword: Parasitory and Dynamic Elements in Merchant
 Capitalism", in: Review of the Fernand Braudel Center (New York),  Volume
 XX, Number 2, Spring 1997.

 Van Gelderen also receives a mention in Ernest Mandel's work Late
 Capitalism, as a progenitor of long-wave theory. Mandel of course wrote an
 article on gold for the Robert Langston Memorial Volume (1984) but I don't
 think it is very good really. Kalshoven wrote his Phd on early Dutch
Marxian  economic thought - I think he ended up being a journalist and
columnist.  What's quite interesting is that several early Marxians in
tried to  find mathematical formulae for equilibrium and crisis, beyond
exploring the  phenomenology of capitalism. I cannot say however that their
grasp of  economics was very good, and they did not really come to grips
seriously  with the so-called "transformation problem" either.

 While there has been a nominal increase in the stock of M3 for the US$ by
 one-third in the last five years (about one-quarter in real terms), gold
 prices have also increased significantly. Here's some current price
averages  for the last years (troy ounce, London PM fix):

 2000 - $275
2001 - $271
2002 - $308
2003 - $363
2004 - $392?

 At the present moment, gold sells at close to $450 an ounce. Although the
 stock of available gold is obviously insufficient to back the amount of
bank  money in circulation, it can function as security, or a means of
 speculation/hedging. In recent years, as I mentioned before, many central
 banks actually sold off a considerable amount of their gold.

 Assume a mid-year US CPI index of 100 for 2000 and 109.6 for 2004 (derived
 from BLS series), then this suggests a general price inflation rate in the
 US of 9.6% over five years or just under 2% a year on average. But during
 the same time, the average price of gold increased by 42.5%, or an average
 of 8.5% per year. At that rate, one would often be better off investing in
 gold, than in shorter-term bonds.

 The advantage of gold compared to e.g. real estate is that, beyond having
to  store it securely, you don't have to worry about maintenance costs,
 rates and suchlike. Although gold prices are still nowhere near the alltime
 high of January 1980 (the Iranian hostage crisis), I predict that gold
price  averages will continue to rise in the coming years. However, the
goldmining  industry is not doing as well, mainly because of increased
production  costs - but higher production costs must ultimately also feed
into the price  rises.

 For data on government gold reserves, see the useful IMF template

 The US data are at:
 http://www.imf.org/external/np/sta/ir/usa/eng/curusa.htm#I Obviously, this
 data does not refer to all the gold in circulation, since an unknown
 quantity would be privately held (interestingly, Roosevelt made private
 ownership illegal in the United States in 1933!).

 For comparisons of investment returns internationally, see the ABN-AMRO
 Global Investment Returns Yearbook at:
 http://www.finfacts.ie/Private/curency/GIRY2004.pdf If we examine this
data,  we can easily find clues about the real causes of sluggish real
growth in production.

  "Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
 No, Gods, I am no idle votarist! ...
 Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
 Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
 ... Why, this
 Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
 Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads:
 This yellow slave
 Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed...

 - Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, cited by Karl Marx



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Nov 23 2004 - 00:00:01 EST