[A-List] Mr Liu, Gold and Wealth
nmgoro at gmail.com
Mon May 25 06:50:08 MDT 2009
> It is inevitable to think that a
> certain amount of arbitrariness has to be applied by claiming that
> "asset-gold-is wealth," when after all gold is just a mineral rock. It also
> implies that he wealthiest individuals in the world are the owners of the
> gold mining companies.
And a series of interesting criticisms to H.Liu´s views, which almost
depict Liu as a right wing monetarist. Perhaps Henry will answer them,
"Wealth" is accumulated human labor, or in a less "pure" language
accumulated social energy (a case can be done in that "energy" is what
Marx was thinking of when he wrote on the "productive force" lent by
the worker to the capitalist, since he was thinking of the worker´s
_capacity to do some work_ as the actual object of the transaction).
Capitalist formations express wealth as "values". These "values", in
their turn, are related to the subtle and all encompassing tissue of
equivalent exchanges, and equivalent exchange always relies on the
existence of an universal equivalent which must have both an "use
value" and an "exchange value". All this is succintly exposed in the
first chapters of Marx´s Capital, BTW.
"Sheets of paper with ink on them", many would argue to counter
Mario´s diminution of gold, "don´t have both "values", while gold
does. It may well not be the single commodity that can be the material
representation of wealth, but it is still a better one than paper and
ink". Ultimately, it can be arguable from a Marxist point of view that
in the end no capitalist economy can work without a concrete,
material, representation of wealth. This may well NOT be the issue
with monetarists, I don´t know.
In this sense, when, during the 70s, the last bonds between gold and
currency were torn, a Marxist would have been allowed to say that the
intimate lunacy of the capitalist mode of production came to the fore
without breaching any Marxist foundation, which is nearer to some
Miesian positions than to the core of Keynesian thought.
I am impersonal on these issues because I am no pundit.
But what I believe is that the issue of gold (or any other material
representation of accumulated human labor) can not be dismissed with a
couple of smart words, as Keynes did. It may be a remainder of an age
of barbarism, but class societies are, to the last corner of human
Gold, BTW, is not just a "mineral rock". I don´t know Mario´s record
as an economist, but I would certainly not suggest him to make a
living as a petrologist.
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