Friday, February 27, 2015

herrnaphta — Marxism and Monetary Theory: A Bibliography

Since reading David Graeber’s Debt last fall, I’ve become interested in the relationship between Marxist economic theory and the heterodox theory of money Graeber supports in his work. Graeber holds to a chartalist position, which argues that money is not, as the classic account in Carl Menger goes, simply the most salable commodity, but rather a symbol that has value because the state requires us to pay taxes in it. Though this theory of money dates back to Aristotle, today it has been developed into the body of theory known as ‘Modern Monetary Theory.’ 
MMT’s focus on the role of the state in making money gives it a very different emphasis from Marx’s analysis in the first three chapters of Capital. There, Marx argues for something quite similar to Menger, drawing an account of the way that a society based on commodity production has need for one commodity to serve as a universal equivalent. In other words, monetary theory appears to make for strange bedfellows. On one side, we have the neo-classicals, the Austrians, and Marx. On the other, the left-leaning post-Keynesians. What to make of all this? 
Personally, I’m pulled by the arguments of MMT. As I began researching what Marxists had to say on the subject, I was relieved to find a number of them arguing that value theory does not require commodity money, and that Marx himself in the later volumes of Capital appears to recognize this....
Marxist Marginalia
Marxism and Monetary Theory: A Bibliography
h/t Rodger Mitchell at Chartalism

1 comment:

Magpie said...

I suspect this is old news to Peter Cooper...

But the bibliography is a very nice touch.