These comments on Fred Moseley’s book Money and Totality: A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic in Capital and the End of the ‘Transformation Problem’ address the fundamental issue of exchange consistency: when are things bought, when are they sold, and when are their prices established? This simple question defines the difference between two paradigms that divide the whole of economics including Marx studies: temporalism and simultaneism.
I will show – in the probably vain hope of convincing him – that Fred’s theory is incompatible with Marx’s concept of money. It is likewise incompatible with any concept of money that recognizes its most fundamental property, as a means of purchase.
This is because, in Fred’s simultaneist (that is to say, general equilibrium) interpretation of Marx, the money paid by sellers is different from the money received by purchasers.
Actually, therefore, Fred’s is a price, not a monetary, interpretation of Marx. It therefore has more in common with the value theories of Ricardo, Walras, von Bortkiewicz, and Sraffa, than with Marx’s theory.
All these theories manifest the same contradiction, which arises from the identification of money with price, that is to say, a denial of the independent and real function of money, reducing it to a measure and a standard. But the primary function of money is to buy things, as Marx understood, and Fred does not.