[OPE-L:5797] commodity money

Thu, 4 Dec 1997 16:56:56 -0500 (EST)

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Some comments on Claus' recent post:

-Gold is kept in reserve by central banks for conventional and political
reasons, not because of any essential monetary role, even if residual. By the
way, today the Financial Times reported that the central bank of Argentina
had sold all its gold reserves for approximately US$1.5bn, and purchased
(interest-bearing) US treasury bonds with the proceeds. That is the
inevitable trend, and increasing speculation about other central banks doing
the same has sent the price of gold tumbling to their lowest levels in a

-In the remainder of the message Claus insists on the essential role of gold
(or any other commodity, in principle) as measure of value, and the lack of
alternatives within Marx's value theory. Well, I have provided one, and
argued that the two reasons why Marx builds his argument in Capital 1 the way
he does are historical (the role of gold in the British and international
monetary system of his time) and methodological (departing from the commodity
towards the concept of capital invites a commodity money bridge). None
implies the *actual* necessity of a commodity-based monetary system for the
existence of capital (as we know from experience). Consequently, the problem
is entirely *theoretical*. It's *within Marx's value theory*, not outside it.
It's *our* problem. *We* have to show why gold is *not* important, because in
the real world it it *not important*.