[OPE-L:5790] Re: commodity money

Paul Cockshott (wpc@CS.STRATH.AC.UK)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 09:07:57 -0000

[ show plain text ]

> Alfredo
> I dont understand very well the idea of the "gold anchor". This could
> mean that the value of gold is eternally constant. A change on the
> value of gold would destroy the so-called "anchor". I think the only,
> so to say, "anchor" in Marx's theory is social labor-time.
Gold acts as an anchor insofar as it provides a mechanism linking
monetary units to labour time units. With gold currency a unit of
money actually requires significant labour for its production. This
amount of labour may gradually change, but this is true of all commodities.
Value only has meaning at a given instant of time.

However it should be born in mind that gold is likely to be particularly
slow to change its value bcause:
1. Its scarcity is determined by invariant geological conditions rather
than any particular feature of technical development
2. It is chemically very unreactive, and thus does not corrode over
historical time periods. This allows large stocks of bullion and
gold to build up which dampen down short term changes in the conditions
of production.

Inflation due to new gold mines opening is relatively slow, with effects
experienced over decades rather than individual years.