[OPE-L:5805] RE: commodity money

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 09:25:40 -0500 (EST)

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On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, andrew kliman wrote:

> Paul: "Since gold changes its value relatively slowly, it gave the illusion
> of being an invariable standard of value,
> but no such standard can in fact exist."
> The issue is not whether *exchange-values* can be compared over time -- Marx
> agreed with Bailey that no invariable standard of value can exist -- but
> whether *intrinsic values* can be compared over time.

I don't think Paul is denying that you can compare the hours
of labour-time required to produce some commodity X in
different periods, directly. But there are limits to this,
if the periods are widely separated in time. For one thing,
the "menu" of commodities produced changes. For another,
since the nature of work itself changes over time, it's not
altogether clear how meaningful it is to compare hours of
labour in 1848 with hours of labour in 1997.

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University