Re: [OPE-L] standard commodity

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 00:26:02 EST

In bourgeois society producers have no guarantee that their products
will be exchanged against others. What they must amass then is
objectified social power, that is the power to command objectified
labor and labor power itself.  They are not simply interested in
exchange ratios; before that they must have gained the power to

Money is not simply a numeraire but the exclusive representation of
abstract labor itself (and money can be such without itself being a
commodity if I follow Michael Williams). Otherwise the fetishistic
powers that it has would simply be inexplicable.  Money is not a veil
or mere exchange device but a form of value.

In the first part of Capital, Marx's labor theory of value is not
primarily a quantitative theory of exchange ratios but a qualitative
theory, an explanation of what it is that money exclusively
represents (this is what Marx is getting at in the three
peculiarities of the equivalent form, which Ajit continues to
ignore). At any rate, one cannot make headway here without reference
to value, the substance of which is abstract labor.

Perhaps one can solve for exchange ratios without reference to value
but one cannot understand the fetishistic power of money as other
than a representation of abstract labor.

Ajit and Hodgson think that there is nothing to Marx's theory of
money in the first part of Capital, but if money is what Sraffa
reduces it to, then phenomena of capitalist society would simply be

I think this is the reason why Paul Davidson ignores neo Ricardian economics.

I continue to baffled why you and other obviously very intelligent
people  proclaim the importance of this formalism.

It seems powerless in the face of the profound contradictions which
wrack capitalist society.


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