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In this article, I derive the monetary expression of value based upon commodity money and use it to translate values and exchange values from units of labor into units of money. While this analysis has been done at the initial stage of Marx’s analysis where he assumes that commodities exchange in proportion to their values, I derive the monetary expression of value at the more developed stage of Marx’s 10 analysis where commodities exchange according to prices of production. I then develop a macroeconomic measure of the monetary expression of value and link the micro- and macroeconomic determination of the monetary expression of value. In so doing I provide a conceptual basis for defining the monetary expression of value using contemporary non-commodity money.


Rethinking Marxism





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1. Money and Value The more than century-long controversy concerning Marx’s theory of value has centered primarily on the question of whether or not it is possible logically to explain the relative prices of commodities on the basis of labor-time. The question of how money expresses labor-time has, until recently, gone relatively unnoticed in spite of the central role that money plays in Marx’s exposition of his theory of value. In the last twenty five years, a number of theorists have re- examined the role of money and, as a result, have begun to argue for a monetary approach to Marx’s theory of value, suggesting that only by understanding and incorporating Marx’s theory of money is it possible to understand his theory of value.1 A number of these theorists draw on the New Interpretation of the transformation problem and utilize, in particular, the concept of the 1 Early contributions include Rubin (1973), Rosdolsky (1954) and Colletti (1973); more recently Moseley (2004, 2005), Lapavitsas (2000), Saad-Filho (2002) and Fine, Lapavitsas and Saad- Filho. (2004).

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5. Conclusion Utilizing the post-structuralist approach to the relationship between value and exchange- value, the price of production of gold can be used to provide the basis for a microeconomic definition of the monetary expression of value. The monetary expression of value can be then used to translate both values and exchange-values from labor to money magnitudes at the level of analysis in which commodities are assumed to exchange according to prices of production. Using the equation of exchange it is possible also to derive a macroeconomic expression of the monetary expression of value. The derivation of the macroeconomic expression suggests that the proposal to define the monetary expression of value with reference to the ratio of the value-added to the new labor expended ought to be rejected. The macroeconomic expression provides a theoretic basis to evaluate attempts to integrate non-commodity money as well as to analyze changes in the monetary expression of value in a dynamic context. Money plays an important role in Marx’s theory of value and a post-structural approach is able to provide a consistent theoretic account of money. The theory suggests that in the context of capitalist commodity exchange, money is time – it represents a portion of society’s abstract labor-time. It does not count as labor-time directly; it fulfils its function only in the context of 18 the exchange of commodities. Capitalist commodity exchange is thus conceived of as a particular means of comparing concrete labors and measuring them against the complex confluence of the totality of society’s labor. More work needs to be done to elaborate this understanding of the role of money and the post-structural approach provides a means to undertake a further theoretical elaboration.