Social Scientist. v 8, no. 86 (Sept 1979) p. 59.

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Marx^s Theory of Money

SUZANNE DE BRUNHOFF, MARX ON MONEY, translated by Maurice Goldbloom, Urizen Books Incorporated, New York, 1976, pp 139, $ 4.95.

THE second edition of Suzanne de BrunhofPs Marx on Money is a timely appearance since, in the Western world, monetarists and Keynesians are still in fierce debate regarding the role of monetary policy and inflation-unemployment problem. It is not only a significant contribution to a much neglected area in Marxian economics, but it also helps students of economics to see the problem and to participate in the debate from a completely different angle.

The book centres round the main idea which is developed and elaborated by Marx in the very beginning of his Capital, in the chapter on commodity and money. In Part I, entitled "The Marxist Theory of Money," de Brunhoff discusses the question clearly about why Marx began his analysis of commodity and money form in the beginning of Capital. She argues that Marx starts with simple commodity production and from it derives money as the general equivalent, as pure exchange value, opposed to all other commodities, rather than dealing with either commodity or money. She points out how Marx develops a general theory of money and studies "money in its general aspect, independent of the capitalist form of production in order, among other things, to determine its role in the capitalist form of production" (p 19).

De Brunhoff also describes Marx's explanation of the different functions of money against their abstract background. The three functions of money—(i) measure of value, (ii) medium of circulation and (iii) money as an instrument of hoarding—are discussed thoroughly. It is also shown why the third function would have no meaning without the first two.

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