[OPE-L:5248] Re: Metal money

Michael Williams (mwilliam@compuserve.com)
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 10:40:53 -0700 (PDT)

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> Chai-on, in response to Alejandro:
>
> Yes, it needs to be a commodity so as to function as a scale to measure
> prices. Though the spring scale measures the weight without equivalent
> weights, it still has some reference to the real weight scale.

Michael W
Actually, although I myself have offered the spring-balance as a counter to
the notion that a measure of anything must be characterised by that thing
itself, it does not stand up as such (this was pointed out to me by Allin
Cottrell and/or Paul Cockshott in conversation): what are here put into
balance are the *force* exerted by gravity operating on the object to be
weighed and the (equal an opposite) *force* exerted by the coiled spring.

However, the case of Value and its measurement exhibits serious
disanalogies with these physical examples:
1. Since it is the 'reality' of Value that we are debating, I can well
assert that Money has some reference to the real Value scale - my job then
is to reconcile that with the postulate of labour as the sole necessary
factor of production of Value.
2. There is no actual quantity of labour time that can act as a measure of
value, since it is Abstract Labour that is the measure of Value, and the
only real existence of Abstract Labour as Value is in Money Price (this is
the 'necessary form of expression' of value, is,the kind of language Marx
uses).
3. In general, Value is a social not a physical category, so the
disanalogies with weight, length, etc should not be surprising.

> Chai-on:
> No, I think he should have done so. Money needs not be gold as a
necessity.
> Even paper money or the electronic money can well be a good commodity
(not
> a non-commodity).
and later
> Chai-on:
> Money is not "symbol". It has a real value. A piece of electronic money
has
> cost little for the CB. For the Pubic, however, it should cost lots of
> labor to acquire it because the E-money is not given free.

Michael W:
It seems highly implausible to me that these commodity 'money objects'
have anything to do with Money: are you claiming that the socially
necessary abstract labour time required to (re)produce 15 x 1000 notes is
equal to that required to produce the Ford Sierra car that 15K can buy? I
think not. (A similar question could be asked about the complex of
commodities need to reproduce an e-money system.)

> Chai-on:
> Yes, I would call it "an autonomous existence of value". Usually, value
> cannot exist without its container, the use-value. In money, the
container
> is apart from the use-value.

Michael W
Quite. And a Value not locked in contradictory unity with a Use-Value, is
not a Commodity.

Comradely greetings

Michael
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Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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