[OPE] Abstract Labor (a note for Dave Zachariah)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 13:59:53 EST

I get hassled sometimes because of my pro-Marx, anti-Marxist styles, but then Marxists often falsify Marx & Engels to make them say all sorts of things that they want to say themselves. It is like a religion. You might as well just say what you want to say, without the obligatory religious reference to Marx.

There is not a shred of historical evidence that it was the state which originally invented money, and an enormous amount of historical evidence that money-tokens of various kinds existed before the state assumed the power to issue currency. That is, the state only aimed to regulate and stimulate trading processes which existed already, as well as profit from them.

Contrary to Marxist myths (propagated also by people like Ernest Mandel), Marx himself never subscribed to a "commodity theory of money", and he makes this abundantly clear in numerous passages. What Marx aimed to do, specifically, was to explain the ORIGINS of money, where the increasing sophistication of commodity trade begets the practical NECESSITY for a general equivalent in exchanging goods and services, irrespective of how exactly that happens to be achieved practically (an East India Company, a municipality, a State, a Corporation, a merchant trader, a Clergy etc.). He then explains the social and psychic consequences of this for human life.

What you and the other "Marxist" PostKeynesians (like Reuten/Williams) do, is to confuse the ESSENCE of a process with its SUPERSTRUCTURAL manifestations. Your own "Marxism" is often just a superstructure for a PostKeynesian essence, even although it takes only a day of focused research to make total mincemeat of the PostKeynesian explanation about the origin of money.

The PostKeynesians do not offer any proof that originally the state invented money. Why? Because there is no evidence, and the proof is impossible. It is proof, only if you redefine the meanings of words to suit your case. But in real trade, word meanings are mostly hot air - in the sense that, in real trade, people want to see real goods and real cash at the end of the day. And they will trade, even if Post Keynesians say that it is theoretically impossible because the state wasn't involved.

In their book about Towards a New Socialism, Paul Cockshott & Allin Cottrell similarly pronounce in favour of a Ricardian theory of foreign trade. But in reality this is another alien theory grafted onto Marx by people who have not thought through the argument properly. Here at home I have a pile of literature at least 10 cms high explaining what is wrong with the Ricardian theory and why Marx did not subscribe to it, mostly written in the 1970s and 1980s, in German and English. Nevertheless the myth of the Ricardian theory persists among Marxists even today, twenty years later.

This is just to explain why I get a bit exasperated by arrrogant Marxists who claim that Smith, Ricardo and Keynes got it right all along. They don't know what they are talking about, they haven't studied the literature and they haven't studied the economic history. But, perhaps most importantly, they don't know what the questions really are.


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Received on Thu Mar 5 14:08:50 2009

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