[OPE-L:5646] [OPE] [ALEJANDRO R] Re: commodity money

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 27 Oct 1997 12:14:52 -0500 (EST)

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> Mike W, Ale, Paul C and everyone else: please make sure when replying to
> a post that you are sending your response to the list rather than the
> author alone.

Im sure I sent a post on Saturday *to the list server*. However, it
hasnt been forwarded it yet. Should I resend it?


> A couple of questions related to this topic:
> (1) One of the tendencies under capitalism is a relentless drive towards
> commodification -- e.g. to transform into commodities objects that
> had not previously been represented by the value-form. Yet with the
> transformation from the money commodity to money in non-commodity
> form, we see the opposite movement. How can this be explained
> theoretically (rather than only historically)?

I think there is a misunderstanding here. Money has never been a
"commodity" in the same sense that "corn", "rice" or "rifles". We
have been told -mainly by the Sraffian tradition and its antecessors-
that money is simply a "numeraire". So you have a system of eq. and
you can express prices in "gold", "rice" or "rifles". Money here is
simply "scale" to measure prices. This is the idea behind of and
alleged "money commodity" in Marx.

But Marx defines money as a "*general* commodity", and I wish to
stress here the word *general*. General is the *negation* of any
*particular* thing, in this case, any particular commodity. Its like
we have the "general cat" although in this case we have actually the
"general commodity" as a real thing, while the "general cat" is only a
Platonic abstraction.

Marx says that money has only a *formal* use value, derived from its
social functions, with is enough to understand that it is not a
commodity like "corn", "rice", etc.

So, trying to respond Jerrys interesting question: There is no such
"transformation from the money commodity to money in non-commodity
form" neither historically nor theoretically. From the beginning
money is the negation of commodity and thus a "non-commodity".

Alejandro Ramos

"The money commodity The fact
that the money function was performed by
a thing that can also has a "real use value" is only a stage in the

> (2) From a systematic dialectical perspective [:-)], shouldnt one first
> investigate the case where money takes the commodity form before one
> relaxes this assumption and explains how in the course of the
> reproduction of capital and accumulation the functions of money and
> credit are modified? I.e. wasnt there a reason, other than a
> historical one related to Marxs own time, for the ordering of
> different aspects of his theory of money?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> >