Hilferding or Marx? - V. Poznjakov

Towards a critique of Hilferding's theory of money. Pod Znamenem Marksizma, 1926, no. 1-2, 245-67 p.

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 2, 2012

Hilferding or Marx?1 .

In his work on "Money and credit" A. Finn-Enotaevsky writes:

Money appeared at a certain stage of the development of exchange in kind, having become ordinary. Some of the functions, fulfilled by money, which a series of prominent economists see as the essence of money, had a place in social economic life also before the appearance of money, and they will exist after the disappearance of money: let's indicate though the fundamental function of money - to serve as measure of value. Only in the realm of commodity circulation a particular commodity, fulfilling the functions of measure of value and means of circulation together, becomes money 2 .

It's difficult to purposely press such big confusion in so little space - to the length altogether of a few lines. Firstly, what are these functions of money which existed before the appearance of money and will remain also after the disappearance of money? In any case these will be functions of something else, but not functions of money. Secondly, Finn-Enotaevsky calls the property of such functions their function to serve as measure of value. But a measure of value presupposes value, because one can't measure that which does not exist. With the result that we, evidently, blissfully arrive to the view of, at least, also Smith, who, e.g., saw money as a means which people agreed to resort to for the sake of convenience 3 . Value, measured by money, exists, evidently, by itself, regardless of money, yet the same money has under this not the slightest relation to value. If the first with proper interpretation is true, then the second already is absolutely not true. The issue here is, of course, that value, at least in this place in Finn-Enotaevsky, clearly emerges in the quality of a logical category. A. Smith saw money at the same time as a commodity. Likewise Finn-Enotaevsky considers it further also to be a commodity, and even a particular commodity. But this particularity lies only in, - as this follows from the latter, - the point that this commodity fulfills the "function of measure of value and means of circulation." Finn-Enotaevsky perfectly manages to see the basic fault of a "series of prominent economists" in that they see the essence of money in this or the other function of money. But Finn-Enotaevsky's entire distinction from them lays in that, in his opinion, again expressed here, the essence of money is the sum of the two of its functions. It's perfectly true that it's mistaken to deduce the nature of money from any function of money, but undoubtedly too, it is no less mistaken to deduce money from its two functions at the same time; in this case quantity does not change yet into quality.

That here Finn-Enotaevsky presents the situation quite incorrectly, he also knows himself, because further he says:

The connection of paper money - and the bank-note - with the value of a sort of exclusive commodity, let's say, a precious metal - lies in the nature of money, and not merely practical convenience introduced due to the natural variability of credit as Gawtrey 4 believes: it's ineradicable, as long as exchange exists, which created money. And money is a commodity, though also a particular one 5 .

Thereby comes before our sight the question about the nature of money. What answer do we find in Finn-Enotaevsky ? "This same process, - he says, - which turns the value of commodities into prices, turns the commodity, with which these prices are expressed, into money 6 ."

It's clear, that the nature of money also must be derived from this process. But such framing of the question is at bottom false. However, our task does not at all go to a critique of the views of Finn-Enotaevsky; the task, which we set ourselves, is different: it is to submit to an examination the basic error of the theory of money of Hilferding. If we involved also the case of Finn-Enotaevsky, then only because he in the cited words in a very pure form gave in essence a very true formulation of the basic views of Hilferding, and therewith, let's add, repeated also all of his errors.

Let's turn all the same to the characteristics of this process, with which money arises. We just indicated that the presentation of this process by Finn-Enotaevsky we certainly cannot recognise as correct, because it at bottom contradicts Marx's theory of money, which we see as the sole right one. But at the same time it is, so to say in the best way, connected internally with his presentation about money, as measure of value plus means of circulation. Actually, but not by words, a similar presentation about the process, as Kautsky tried to show, lies in the quality of that foundation on which Hilfderding raises his whole theoretical construction (in the domain of the theory of money, of course). Incidentally, in relation to Hilferding, as we'll see further on, also that is untrue.

Can we not, in fact, assert, that the process, which turns a particular commodity into money, is the process of the modification of value into price, like this is claimed by Finn-Enotaevsky? We think, that this cannot be done under any case. However, by the way, the natural consequence of such an understanding is his presentation that there is a place for value while at the same time money still lacks and, oppositely, - value could exist, even if money would be obliterated, like this is claimed by the same Finn-Enotaevsky.

Marx gave a quite different answer; for him the process of turning a particular commodity into money was at the same time the process of development of value itself, and not merely a conversion process of value into price. This moment in a strange way falls out of the sight not only of Finn-Enotaevsky, but also in Hilferding, and likewise also of the critics of the theory of money of Hilferding. However to the theory of Marx we return later, as for now let's turn to our next topic.

As is known, Hilferding constructs a new concept of "socially necessary circulation value" 7 , and lays with it the basis of his theory of paper money; so he puts the question, at least, in "Finance Capital", but, as Kautsky shows 8 , later on, he spreads the by him derived position also to the event of gold currency 9 .

The examination of his main error is made therefore actual; all the more since also "among the camp of Marxist youth, - as c. Motylev asserts 10 , because of this (i.e. due to the transition of almost all countries to paper money currency. V.P.) the theory of ''socially necessary circulation value'' of Hilferding enjoys success, giving a manifest answer and, - moreover, - an appearance of harmony with the economic conception of Marxism."

Special critique apropos this new theory of money Kautsky gave in his article "Gold, paper money and commodity" 11 . But it must be said, that the basic flaw in the Hilferdingian construction remained for Kautsky unnoticed; therefore his critique to a great extent misses the mark. Furthermore Kautsky himself gets mixed up later, trying to restore the by Hilferding broken (of course, only in the presentation of Hilferding himself) connection of paper money to gold. Comrade Motlyev sharply, but still not sharply enough, shows the incompatibility of the views of Hilferding and the theory of Marx. Unfortunately, this incompatibility he does not show closer.

However let's turn to the original work: we need first of all to set forth the by us criticized theory. Luckily for us, the notoriety of Hilferding's views relieves us of the necessity of their detailed exposition. Let's stand still at the key points of his theory and give them moreover with a certain critical perspective.

Here in him the methodological approach itself is curious already. Kautsky quite correctly characterises it, saying, "money, according to Hilferding's formula, must function first as a measure of value and then as a means of circulation before determining its value, which turns it into a measure of value and a means of circulation" 12 . It's only a surprise, that Hilferding, having written so much and well about Marx's method, in this concrete case so thoroughly forgot all his writings, and not in the smallest degree could apply this method. Here he absorbed well the language and style of Marx, but the substance or method of Marx remained for him terra incognita.

Concretely, in reality we meet, of course, firstly with money in its various functions. No exchange, i.e. circulation of commodities, no money also, - exchange precedes money. But in the acts of exchange money functions in the form of means of circulation, because the aim of the act of exchange also is the transference of the commodity from hand to hand, perpetrated совершаемое посредстве by means of money. Likewise, only in exchange we meet money functioning in the role of measure of value, because measuring the value in order to exchange it (to sell or buy). One can say the same also concerning the other functions. Only with the fulfillment of these functions, a distinct commodity becomes money. These functions, apparently, also were historically forerunners; from them, apparently, also must begin the analysis of money: from these functions of money must be derived its nature. And we know that all kind of bourgeois theories of money present at once such an outline of the nature of money from this or the other of its functions. One can even try to derive the essence of money from all of its functions, understanding this in the sense of a simple, arithmetic sum of these functions. And, still, even also in such case this would be an incorrect path. Because the whole in this case will be more, than a simple sum of its parts. Concretely we are given various functions of money. But "the concrete is concrete because it is the concentration of many determinations, i.e. unity of the diverse"13 , but not united diversity. "It appears in the process of thinking, therefore, as a process of concentration, as a result, not as a point of departure, even though it is the point of departure in reality and hence also the point of departure for observation and conception"14 . Therefore there is no greater mistake than the route, on which Hilferding stood. But he predetermined likewise also his basic error, because actually we have in him a barely consistent, only covered with Marxist phraseology, variant of the vulgar quantity theory. However, at this moment of methodological order we will have to stand still later in connection with the theory of money of Marx, which we will have to touch, in order to show, to what extent Hilferding substantially "revisioned" Marx.

On the necessity of such revision of the views of Marx, incidentally, Hilferding also himself speaks. In his opinion, we encounter a series of such phenomena, - as, e.g., the phenomena of the monetary systems in the Netherlands, Austria and India, - which we with the help of the formulation of Marx's theory, have apparently been incapable of solving15 . The theory of money developed by Hilferding, as he himself says or as it seems to him, on the basis of Marx's theory, must solve precisely these advanced new phenomena of money currency problems. That under this he comes to correct Marx - this is indisputable. The whole question also lies in which character this correction carries? And is not such "repair" soon a distortion of Marx?

Hilferding begins his analysis with setting up "the necessity of money." Here (in the first chapter of his "Finance Capital") he deals only with gold money, and here he, seemingly, only recounts that which was said by Marx. But this is only in appearance; because with attentive reading it becomes clear, that the theory of Marx is subjected not to distortion , - this cannot be said frankly, but it is sort of embellished, taking on inappropriate proportions, as if a reflection in a curved mirror. That which is the more essential, which characterizes the theory of money of Marx, sort of slips away, the other way around, it is disproportionally inflated in other relations, receiving with this the form of a trampoline, which helps Hilferding to accomplish the leap to his actual theory (the issue here, in reality, is not about a "correction" to Marx's theory, we add in parenthesis, but precisely a jump from Marx's theory). Even where Hilferding just merely follows Marx, expounding fully Marxist, on the surface, views, we have already a thorough revision or highly significant deviation from the views of Marx, with which, of course, Hilferding volens nolens in these cases proceeds, alas, to repeat only long ago pronouncements made not only before him, but also before Marx.

Now the question in general stands thus: or the theory of Marx, in full, without any corrections; or these corrections and little adjustments, and the inevitable repetition of the new wisdom of bourgeois political economy - tertium non datur. So, what is money?

"Money is a commodity like all other commodities and thus embodies value" 16 .

"As a value money is like any other commodity, and the necessity for it to have value arises directly out of the nature of the commodity producing society." 17

This is entirely true, so true, that later, when Hilferding goes on to build his theory, he entirely forgets about these definitions. Hilferding knows that money in general is a commodity, that, as such, it must have and does have value, he knows also, that money at the same time is a particular commodity. Because "it is differentiated from all other commodities by being the equivalent of all of them and thus expressing their value. It acquires that status as a result of the whole process of exchange." 18

We, in this way, arrive at the process of exchange, i.e. to the phenomenon of commodity circulation. This commodity circulation, precisely circulation, as the "whole process of exchange", also is for Hilferding the starting point. Incidentally, on this he himself says:

"Historically, money originated in circulation and is therefore primarily a medium of circulation (for Hilferding money also theoretically is firstly a medium of circulation. V.P.). Only after it has become a general standard of value and the general equivalent of commodities, does it become a general means of payment"19 .

With these words Hilferding accentuates his theory against Knapp, but he accentuates it not only against Knapp!

And fully in accord with this he says, that "the necessity for a common measure of value – in which the value of every other commodity is directly expressed, and with which every commodity can consequently be directly exchanged -- arises from the process of exchange, from the need continually to equate commodities with each other"20 . i.e. from the series of acts of exchange, in other words, from the process of exchange as such.

"Money is, therefore, on the one hand a commodity, but on the other hand it is always forced into the unique position of acting as a general equivalent for all the others" 21 .

And he more closely characterises this process moving aside. "This has happened through the action of all other commodities, which have legitimated it as their sole and universal equivalent"22 . Money, for Hilferding, is legitimated in the quality of general equivalent commodity.

But further on this commodity itself in him disappears, because the center of gravity he brings precisely to this legitimation. Only because of this legitimation it becomes money, the direct embodiment of socially necessary time. But in this Hilferding entirely forgets that extremely substantial circumstance, which Marx purposely stresses, that such directly-social labor turns out to be private labor, precisely the labor producing gold. In this Marx sees one, and moreover extremely substantial for the theory of money, contradictory form of value. This side of the question is completely erased by Hilferding, and instead of this he puts in first place precisely the process of circulation or the act of exchange. In general the first chapter of "Finance capital" could have perhaps been considered not a wholly successful presentation of the theory of Marx, if not further on a very clear light was thrown on this peculiarity in its presentation, - otherwise Hilferding could not all have moved to "socially-necessary circulation value." In this concept also is included the whole sense and at the same time the whole nonsense of this theory, if it is approached with the critique on the basis of Marx's method.

If this absurd red thread runs already, although in an encrypted form, through the whole first chapter, - the reader easily can trace it himself 23 , - then in open and unmasked form it officialy comes on to the scene later (in the 2nd chapter). True, his theory, - at least in "Finance capital", - Hilferding builds for a paper-money currency, however it strikes a further goal; theoretical construction in general has its logic (as the Germans say: he who says A, must also say B), and it with equal success or, more accurately, with the same failure must be expanded also in a metallic, specifically gold money currency. Incidentally, in his later article 24 Hilferding also gives it such a spread interpretation.

So, let's reveal the content of the concept "socially-necessary circulation value"; for this let's give the words of Hilferding himself:

"The circulation process takes the form: Commodity–Money–Commodity, or C–M–C, -Hilferding says (we'll see later what use he makes from this formula and what interpretation he gives it). - "In this process, money furnishes simply the evidence that the individual conditions of production for any single commodity coincide with the general conditions of social production." 25

This is true, if we stay within only this process; however at the same time, logically, for us money will already be given before this process. Because, as this is pointed out by Hilferding himself, "money provides circulation in the first phase with a value-crystal into which a commodity can be converted, only to be subsequently dissolved into the equivalent value of another commodity" 26 . But in Hilferding not only money is dissolved into the equivalent commodity form, at the same time in him also the theory of value and the theory of money of Marx is dissolved into something resembling the vulgar position of bourgeois quantitivists. In fact, directly after this he continues:

"But it is indispensable as a symbol of value (money. V.P.) because it is a necessary means of giving society's sanction to the value of a commodity. Thanks to money, it is possible for value to be reconverted from its monetary form into any other commodity." 27 .

With this "society's sanction" we encounter already the specific Hilferdingian deviation; further on he develops it in the following way:

"The monetary expression of value is only ephemeral, and unimportant in itself... what is important for our purpose is exclusively the social aspect of money – its quality of being the value (stojmost) equivalent of a commodity." 28 .

Let the reader not think, that this "value (stojmost)" is the value of money itself, i.e. that material from which money is made. This "value" is separated from this despicable commodity body with which it earlier was connected, and gets a particular abstract, non-material existence. For, though "this social aspect of money finds its palpable expression in the substance used as money, for example, gold", "it can also be expressed directly through conscious social regulation or, since the state is the conscious organ of commodity producing society, by state regulation."29 .

Firstly, good that there is this "conscious social regulation" in a principally non-organized, non-regulated society! Secondly, regardless of the sharp dissociation of Hilferding from the state theory of money, here are highly noticeable traces of influence of the Knapp-ist position; and, thirdly, this "conscious social regulation" Hilferding connects with a determined material, and if, as in the given case, he connects it with gold, then this is not at all necessary, but a purely situational connection. Gold in the given case can be substituted by paper; because the value of paper is not the value of the paper material itself, but a reflection of the value of the commodity opposing money. Here we came in medias res of the theory of Hilferding; in "Finance capital" he develops his theory with application precisely to paper-money currency, but, as we've pointed out, there's no logical obstacle to spread it also to the case of any money currency.

However let's give the formulation of Hilferding himself:

"Under a system of pure legal-tender paper currency30 , given a constant velocity of circulation, the value of paper money is determined by the total price of all the commodities in circulation. The value of paper money in such circumstances is completely independent of the value of gold and reflects directly the value of commodities, in accordance with the law that its total amount represents value equal to the sum of commodity prices divided by the number of monetary units of equal denomination in circulation. It is obvious that paper money can appreciate as well as depreciate in relation to its original value." 31

"Thus, - Hilferding sums up, - the value of paper money is determined by the value of the total quantity of commodities in circulation. The proof that value is a purely social category is supplied by the fact that a mere slip of paper, worthless in itself, discharges the social task of circulating commodities, thereby acquiring a value which is out of all proportion to its negligible value as paper, entirely worthless, but the value of the mass of commodities, - presenting the reflected value of commodities onto paper signs. Just as the moon, long since extinguished, is able to shine only because it receives light from the blazing sun, so paper has a value only because commodities are impregnated with value by social labour. It is therefore a reflection of labour value which converts paper into money just as it is reflected sunlight which enables the moon to shine. The luster of commodity value is to paper currency what the rays of the sun are to moonlight." 32

"The magnitude of the value of this "measure of value" itself (paper money and metallic under suspended coinage) is no longer determined by the value of the constituent commodity, gold, or silver, or paper. Instead, its "value" is really determined by the total value of commodities in circulation, assuming the velocity of circulation to be constant. The real measure of value is not money. On the contrary, the "value(/course)" of money is determined by what I would call the socially necessary value in circulation." 33

One doesn't have to demonstrate that this kind of theoretical construction badly tallies with the basics of Marx's theory; incidentally this is seen also by Hilferding himself. Marx wrote:

"Worthless tokens become tokens of value only when they represent gold within the process of circulation, and they can represent it only to the amount of gold which would circulate as coin, an amount which depends on the value of gold if the exchange-value of the commodities and the velocity of their metamorphoses are given." 34 .

These words of Marx also Hilferding gives, but he only does not agree with the, in his opinion, detour, to which Marx resorts. "The detour by which Marx proceeds – first determining the value of the quantity of coins and then, from that, the value of the paper money – seems superfluous."35 .

The whole question also lies in how correct such a direct deducement is? Is it an accident, in fact, that Marx "became entangled" on a detour? Does there not lay a necessity for such a detour in the nature itself of commodity society? Does not Hilferding himself say, that "labour time (included in the commodity. V.P.), as such, does not get direct expression," that for this is demanded equating to another thing, i.e. an amount of this "other thing", and this "thing", as the same Hilferding clarifies, which itself possesses value. And further - in polemic against the quantity theory of money - did not Hilferding himself say: "Finally, it is impossible to compare between a mass of bullion on one side and a mass of commodities on the other. What relation is supposed to exist between n kilograms of gold or silver, or even paper, and a million boots, bmillion cases of shoe polish, cbushels of wheat, dhectoliters of beer, etc? A reciprocal relation between money and commodities presupposes that they have something in common; in other words; it presupposes the value relation, which is precisely what has to be explained." 36

But it is even more absurd to compare an amount of commodities on one side and a bundle of paper money on the other, and to this also leads the whole "new" breakthrough of Hilferding. After all "the token of value is directly only a token of price, that is a token of gold, and only indirectly a token of the value of the commodity" (Marx) 37 , and with that precisely a symbol of the value of gold, and not of any other commodities, nor of the whole mass of commodities. This is what Marx affirmed, and something else he could not affirm. It's very good, that Hilferding gives here the entirely correct position of Marx, it's very unfortunate only, than he now already also forgets about it; however, we'll return yet to this question. The theory of value of Marw also logically is tied in with it, the logically following theory of money is absolutely irreconcilable with Hilferding's own theory and with his "socially necessary value in circulation."

The starting point of Hilferding serves, as we saw, Marx's formula of commodity circulation C-M-C; together with it, money for him became firstly and exclusively, as the mediating link in this formula of commodity metamorphosis, i.e. as means of circulation; true, it at the same time fulfills a certain social function, it gave social recognition of the labor of private commodity producers, it acted as measure of value; but this function of being the measure if value is subjugated by Hilferding to its fundamental function as means of circulation, following from it. Hence, Hilferding deduces the nature of money from its functions, and precisely from the function of means of circulation; this deducement lies clearly or covertly at the basis of any quantity theory. The absurdity of such a deducement of the nature of money from the formula C-M-C bumps every marxist in the eyes; therefore Hilferding carries out this same operation, but in more complex form; he starts not from two individuals, but for the link between the metamorphosis, he takes all commodity circulation of the given society.

"Let us assume, - he says, - that, at a given time, circulation requires 5,000,000 marks for which 3,600 pounds of gold would be needed. We should then have a total circulation as follows; 5,000,000 marks in C –5,000,000 marks in M –5,000,000 marks in C. If paper tokens were substituted for gold, their sum would have to represent the total value of commodities (5,000,000 marks in this case) whatever their nominal value. In other words, if 5,000 notes of equal value were printed, each note would be worth 1,000 marks ; if 100,000 notes were printed, each would be worth 50 marks. If the velocity of circulation remained constant and the sum of prices were to double without any corresponding change in the quantity of paper money, the value of the paper would rise to 10,000,000 marks; per contra, if the sum of prices were to decline by one half, the value of the paper would fall to 2,500,000 marks." 38

Wherein lies the fundamental error of the entire construction of Hilferding? Although his "Finance capital" sometimes also was called the fourth volume of "Capital", however this theory of money, of course, could not receive unanimous recognition among marxists. The fundamental error of his theory his critics see in the confusion between value and price. "The fundamental error, - c. W. Motylev says, - of all attempts lies in the confusion between value and price" 39 .

Kautsky in his critique of Hilferding 40 unwinds it in two directions. "He equates value and price" 41 - Kautsky says. "The way from value to price is precisely the detour that Marx adopted... Hilferding spares himself that “superfluous” detour by regarding price and value as identical concepts." 42 . And further:

"Value is determined by the socially necessary labour time. If a socially necessary labour time of 5 million hours of work goes into the production of a given mass of commodities, its value will be accordingly high. If an hour of labour produces 1/1395 pounds of gold, and if one calls that amount of gold a mark, one can also say that the sum of value of the mass of commodities amounts to 5 million marks. Strictly speaking, however, this is not a sum of values but of prices, i.e. a determined quantity of values expressed by a certain amount of gold, against which it is exchanged. Value and price are by no means the same thing, although to simplify matters one can sometimes equate one with the other. But one must not forget that the expression of the value of a commodity in money presupposes the value of the latter, and that it is senseless without this presupposition. It is always more accurate to call such an expression price.

Why does then Hilferding talk about a sum of values rather than a sum of prices? The sum of value of commodities is given; it is independent from the value of gold. The sum of prices, by contrast, presupposes not only a certain value of commodities, but also a certain value of gold. Equating the sum of values to the sum of prices enables Hilferding to make the price as well as the value of commodities independent from the presupposition of a given value of money." 43

So, the fundamental error of Hilferding, in the opinion of Kautsky, and, incidentally, also of other Marxists, lies in the fact that he confuses or identifies value and price. But this objection, firstly, is not true, and, secondly, even if it were true, it's not complete, moreover it itself suffers some uncertainty and allows various interpretations, one of which could be correct, in another interpretation the objection itself falls under the same objection which can be made at the address of Hilferding.

It's untrue because Hilferding definitely distinguishes such concepts as value and price.
"Given the quantity of commodities, - he says, - changes in the quantity of money in circulation follow the fluctuations of commodity prices, regardless of whether such price changes arise from real changes in value or only from fluctuations of market prices." 44

And these words are found precisely in the second chapter, where he, as we know, develops his specific theory of money. Kautsky thinks, that Hilferding simply compares the sum of prices of commodities, on the one side, and the whole mass of circulating paper money, on the other. But price is the monetary expression of value in money, and precisely in money, possessing its own value; this expression in "real" (i.e. in gold) money Hilferding also drops from view. However it is a necessary condition and necessary prerequisite for some reasonable comparison of the commodity mass on the one side and paper money on the other. After all paper money possesses no value of its own and, therefore, cannot be the material which expresses the price of commodities; the price in this case is presupposed, as given, and it is the given expression of the value of the commodity in gold. All this, of course is true, but this in no way affects the construction of Hilferding, because, in his opinion, - and this is the center of gravity of the question - paper money possesses its own value; it is - not the value of money material, it is - not even the value representing its gold, it is - a functionality, a reflection, an objectivisation of the value of the mass of commodities. And in as much as this is so, - we avoid, firstly, confusion of value and price, and, secondly, we get rightly speaking also the monetary (with such money) expression of value.

The socially-necessary labor time, residing in some commodity, compares with a certain amount of the whole social labor time, reflected and objectivised in this wad of paper notes. Here is fully admitted also the change of value in price, and therewith also the oscillation of price. The other question is, to what extent is such objectivation permissible?

We pointed above also to the insufficiency and certain vagueness of these objections; Kautsky, for instance, says; "What do we have according to Hilferding’s presuppositions? A mass of values, a heap of commodities" 45 . Two pages further he says in a footnote: "In contrast, in Hilferding’s formula we have, as already remarked, the sum of values of commodities, which must be transformed into their sum of prices even before the value of money is determined." 46

These passages can, perhaps, be understood thus: if we can't in the wake of Hilferding speak about the sum of prices, because for this is required the presence of gold (even if also in contemplated presentation), then, in reality, we can speak here of sum of values. But would we be right to do this? Here we also turn to that formula of Hilferding, about which Kautsky reminds, and which we already brought up earlier, and at the same time get the second objection of Kautsky against Hilferding.

This formula, as we know, has the following form: C-M-C, with which is represented in Hilferding the whole of commodity circulation of this society. Kautsky precisely in such interpretation of this formula sees the "peril" for the entire Hilferdingian construction; in this he's undoubtedly right; but this peril he sees not at all there, where it really happens, and together with this his argumentation misses the mark.

"C–M–C is, - Kautsky says, - the formula for the circulation of particular(/single) commodities. What Hilferding wants to represent by it, however, is not the circulation of particular commodities but the circulation of the entire mass of gold and commodities in society. But that is the result of numerous circulation processes, which are intertwined in the most diverse ways, and which cannot be collectively represented by the formula C–M–C. In that formula, the value of C must be always equal to M. In contrast, the total value of the money in circulation is almost never equal to the total value of the commodities in circulation." 47

Here Hilferding, in the words of Kautsky, drops out of view such a simple moment like the velocity of the circulation of money. And Kautsky imagines that together with this falls also the entire theory of Hilferding! But this is not at all an objection: it takes only a distraction from this velocity of circulating money, to assume, for instance, that all acts of exchange happen simultaneously, - and theoretically this is fully sufficient, because in the opposite case would have to be thrown out, even, the teaching of Marx on reproduction, - in this case, we maintain, if something falls, then it is precisely the objection of Kautsky himself. "In that formula (C-M-C), the value of C must be always equal to M", he says. Well, have we in general here the right to speak about value? In this is also the whole question; in this is the fundamental fault of the theory of Hilferding, here lies also the difference between Marx and Hilferding. Let's give again the already cited words of Kautsky: "In contrast, in Hilferding’s formula we have,... - the sum of values of commodities, which must be transformed into their sum of prices." We maintain, conversely, that in Hilferding's formula we have not anything, that it represents by itself a tautology, that there's no content in it at all. There's not only no price in it, but also no value.

In fact, Kautsky himself notes, that it is obtained through the summation of all acts of exchange, committed in the given society. But the whole does not always equal the sum of the parts: sometimes the whole has a little more, than simply their sum, sometimes, - here we also have such a case, - the sum of the parts can give absolutely not any whole. The quantity changes in complete absence of any quality, and hence, also of quantity (incidentally, also this has, however, a certain qualitative change). Even so this absence of quality already had a place also in every individual formula, but only in covert state, and not so bumping in the eyes.

As is know, this formula in Marx represents the coupling metamorphosis of two individual commodities. In it two commodity-owners meet face to face, possessing these two commodities. It's objective meaning is in the exchange of one use-value C1 - for the other, distinguished from it, use-value - C2 for the one commodity-owner, and the exchange of C2 for C1 - for the second. We ignore the third person - the possessor of money, in this connection he interests us not.

Let there now be in front of us a series of commodity-owners A1, A2, A3, A4 .... B1, B2, B3, B4 .... , let's denote respectively the commodity of everyone - C'1, C'2, C'3, C'4, .... - C''1, C''2, C''3, C''4 .... Let them further enter into deals of exchange, accomplished in pairs between A1 and B1 A2 and B2 and so on, and let's assume, that they all together constitute the whole commodity circulation in society.

So, for the category-A sellers the matter will take such form:

C'1 - M - C''1
C'2 - M - C''2
C'3 - M - C''3
C'4 - M - C''4

But circulation will take such a form, if we'll look on this commodity dance from the point of view of the commodity-owner A1, A2 ... But every sale for one has a buyer for another. From the point of view of B1, B2, B3, B4 .... this commodity dance will look differently:

C''1 - M - C'1
C''2 - M - C'2
C''3 - M - C'3
C''4 - M - C'4

The sum of these two tabels also gives us the whole commodity circulation of the given society. We get, hence, the following detailed formula:

C'1+C'2+C'3+C'4+ .... {-M-} C''1+ C''2+ C''3+C''4+...
..C''1+ C''2+ C''3+C''4+.... ...C'1+C'2+C'3+C'4+...

In the left part we have the sum of all sold commodities, in the right - the sum of all bought commodities; but both here and there - these are the very same mass of commodities. Every commodity figures first among the sold commodities, but as every sale for one is at the same time a purchase from the point of view of the other contractant, then this same commodity hereafter emerges among the crowd of sold commodities. Or differently this could be put as such: a certain determined mass of commodities in a certain moment is simultaneously brought to the market. In order that every individual commodity-owner to accomplishes C' C'', it is necessary, that his C firstly exchanges with M; for all the C, in this way, is accomplished C - M, the whole mass of commodities is replaced with money, all commodities on the market are sold. Then it would be necessary to begin the second act - M must exchange with C. But this M-C already occurred. Because every C-M was at the same time also M-C. We here ignored the third person - the possessors of money, because they in this case cannot help us; in the extreme case we have'd had only involve here the coupling metamorphosis. And now let's put here in place the M of Hilferdingian paper money, this immediate reflection of value of the circulating mass of commodities, and we arrive at this very simple result that in front of our eyes not only money possessing its own value disperses in equivalent form, but that thus also value itself disperses, the theory of value of Marx is left somewhere on the side sine usu, and in place of it Hilferding's own theory disperses in the typical absurdity of the quantity theory. Speaking plainly, before us in classical, law-like form is a reductio ad absurdum.

One and the same mass of commodities, lying right and left from the wad of notes, reflects, for Hilferding, in this wad of notes its value; in other words, this mass of commodities expresses its value in the reflection of its own value, i.e. it under these conditions becomes a certain unknown economic thing in itself.

The reader, probably, noticed already, that we arrived at the simple, accidental or single form of value:

C - M


waare A ist y waare B werth. 48

The entire singularity of the Hilferdingian theory lies, in this way, in slipping here in place of Marx's M a wad of notes and then nonetheless claim, that it has before itself the form of value. In fact his formula, doesn't express any form of value, coming down, at most, to the self-affirmed existence of a certain mass of use-values.

As every marxist competent reader easily realizes, the error of Hilferding lies in the fact that time like "labour time, as such is not expressed directly ... it is expressed only in the exchange commensurability of two articles" 49 , here he forgets about this fundamental position and wants to express it directly, having captured its reflection in a scrap of paper, presented for the given bundle of commodities. It is not appropriate, hence, to see this error in a confusion between value and price; in him both these economic categories disappear in an equal extent; at the same time his "socially-necessary circulation value" takes on the form of a mysterious fenix, his paper money itself - this immediate reflection of commodity value - becomes a reflection of an unexpressed and in such counter-position by no ways expressible value, i.e. a reflection of that which doesn't reflect and in general here cannot be reflected.

The inevitable consequence of this is a fatal vicious circle, in which Hilderding lands. This curious idem per idem consists of the following. Like we already remarked, Hilferding distinguishes between value and price. But the value of money is directly reflected in "socially-necessary circulation value", or, in the final light, the value of the mass of commodities, divided by the velocity of circulating money. However the value of paper money he determines so, - and can not define otherwise, - the sum of prices of commodities 50 . If he also speaks sometimes of value, then, when all is said, he inevitably moves down to price. But what is, for Hilferding, the price of commodities? This is its value, expressed with money, by the quantity of the value of money transforming and its quantity. But the value of money is a reflecting objectification in money of the sum of prices of commodities, which in its turn depends on the quantity of the value of money. Thus, the value of money determines the price of commodities, but the price of commodities depends on the value of money. Incidentally, if we for a minute agree with Hilferding, that money reflects the value of commodities, then also in this case we don't escape from this vicious circle; it changes only the flatness in which it will rest.

Otherwise it also could not be, once in the foundation of the whole theory lies a tautology, not containing in itself an expression of values, nor an expression of prices. As is not strange, the theory of Hilferding still long before its appearance was submitted to special critique from the side of Marx.

"In the circuit C-M-C, - he says, - in so far as it (i.e. the token of value. V.P.) expresses merely the dynamic unity of the two metamorphoses or the direct transformation of one metamorphosis into the other – and this is how it appears in the sphere of circulation, within which the token of value operates – the exchange-value of commodities assumes in the price merely a nominal existence and in money merely an imaginary or symbolic existence. Exchange-value thus appears to be something purely conceptual or an imagined entity but possessing no reality except in the commodities, in so far as a definite amount of labour-time is materialised in them. The token of value (Hilferdingian money. V.P.) therefore seems to represent the value of commodities directly, since it appears to be not a token of gold but a token of the exchange-value which exists solely in the commodity and is merely expressed in the price. But this appearance is deceptive. The token of value is directly only a token of price, that is a token of gold, and only indirectly a token of the value of the commodity." 51 .

With these words Marx, in this way, already anticipates the future "breakthrough" of Hilfdering and very categorically marched out against similar interpretations and "deepening" of his theory.

The path, on which Hilferding arrived at such an amazing result, we characterized above. Money for him is before all else a means of circulation, and this function, and likewise in connection with it and playing a perhaps subordinary role, its function as measure of value, put in place the foundation: proceeding from them, Hilferding tries to get to the nature of money; but he goes, when all is said, there, where he also can not avoid going once the path is selected: to the very superficial, vulgar theory of money, and to the renunciation of the basis of the economic theory of Marx.

We tried to follow after him on the path of his reasoning and in conclusion arrived at the simple, single or accidental form of value. And this is no accident. Because the starting point of the Marxist theory of money at once also is this simple elementary form; from this Marx deduces the nature of such a phenomenon as money.

"The difficulty in forming a concept of the money form, - Marx says, - consists in clearly comprehending the universal equivalent form, and as a necessary corollary, the general form of value, form C. The latter is deducible from form B, the expanded form of value, the essential component element of which, we saw, is form A, 20 yards of linen = 1 coat or x commodity A = y commodity B. The simple commodity form is therefore the germ of the money form." 52

"The whole mystery of the form of value lies hidden in this elementary form." 53 . At the same time "the riddle presented by money is but the riddle presented by commodities; only it has become visible and blinds the eyes with its metallic shine." 54 And this is completely understandable, because the simple form of value includes in itself also the whole content of the theory of commodity fetishism. What does this simple equation or, better said, equality mean? It shows, that for the expression of the value of any commodity is necessary an amount of, at least, two commodities. One - which expresses exchange value, and the other in which this value is expressed, but expresses it with its own material body. Commodity A, standing in the left part of the equality, located in the relation form of value, this is primarily some use-value, but in the given expression figures from the point of view of its owner only as exchange value, then as the equivalent form (or commodity B in the equivalent form) is primarily exchange value itself, but not exchange value by itself, - it here not at all gets any expression, - but the exchange value of commodity A, reflected in the use-value or body of commodity B; hence, in this expression it is primarily and merely use-value, and simultaneously the expression of its own opposite - value, yet the exchange value of commodity A. In other words, value, - and we know, that it is a determined social relation, - exists as some quantity of a thing (commodity B). And the whole difficulty of the clue of both commodity fetishist society in general, and of the riddle of money fetishism, and, therefore, also of the nature of money, consists precisely in understanding this simple form of value. At the same time this side of the question completely escaped from the recognition of bourgeois economy - even classical.

"Here, however, a task is set us, - Marx says, - the performance of which has never yet even been attempted by bourgeois economy, the task of tracing the genesis of this money form, of tracking the development of value, as expression of the exchange relation of commodities, from its simplest, almost imperceptible outline, to the dazzling money-form. By doing this we shall, at the same time, solve the riddle presented by money." 55

So, we now can respond to the question: what is money? Money is a commodity, but a commodity, having become the universal equivalent: with the commodity-equivalent simple form of value we have, in this way, already money in potentia. The further development from the simple or accidental forms of value to the money form, will be simultaneously a process of development of value itself, just only shows, how the equivalent form for all commodities coalescences in a particular commodity, which also becomes money in facto. And the main principal difficulty lies not here, not in this development of the equivalent, but precisely in the very emergence of the equivalent, in the simple form of value.

True, the own value of this commodity-equivalent in this form of value gets not any expression; but it necessarily is assumed, because otherwise there will not be also the form of value itself. Here also lies the difference between the theory of money of Marx and the theory of money of Hilferding. Because the latter allows the possibility of the expression of value of one commodity (the whole aggregate mass of commodities of this society in this case becomes one commodity) in things, not possessing any value. But this, as Marx shows, would mean the direct expression of social labour time residing in commodities, and therefore assumes a socially-regulated process of production. But such organization of society has no place at all for money.

However the definition of money as a commodity, having become general equivalent, still is a little abstract; it is devoid of concrete content, though it already is included in it. Strictly speaking "up to this point, however, we are acquainted only with one function of money, namely, to serve as the form of manifestation of the value of commodities, or as the material in which the magnitudes of their values are socially expressed." 56 . This is the exceptionally important function, which characterises the qualitative determination of money. But it is at the same time, as we only just showed, also exceptionally abstract, because here there is still not a quantitative determination money, that only also gives the concrete determination of money. Classical political economy studied only the latter question, whereas it did not at all form an idea about the existence of the other side of the question. About the existence of this qualitative side Hilferding knows, but in his construction it factually is blurred, and eo ipso, regardless from his subjective aspirations, he slips to the position of bourgeois economy.

Money - this special commodity - expresses the exchange value of all other commodities; but it expresses with this not only their value in general; it expresses the by its quantity determined exchange value. From this the second function of money: - money, as measure of value. But weightless weights cannot measure; as measure of value money must therefore possess actual value. Moreover, eliminating this internal value of money, we also eliminate the very form of value, and, therefore, also value. But the expression of the quantity of value requires also a determined unit of measure; by its nature it carries thereto a complete contingent character. Here, and only here, we meet with the role of state, this "conscious organ of commodity producing society." 57 Here, and only here, also one can speak about conscious "legitimation."

But the commodity owner, this individually acting agent on the market, follows such a "roundabout" expression of the value of his product not for his enjoyment. This process is at once the market process, the act of exchange. Its goal - to move the commodity from the hand of the commodity producer, for whom it is not an use-value, into the hands of his contractant. This exchange act is at the same time only one link of social commodity circulation; money together with this emerges in a new quality, as the mediator in this act, it gets a new function - the function of means of circulation.

At money in the function of means of circulation we need to stand a little more, though because, from this function of it Hilferding also deduces its essence, as direct reflection of "socially-necessary circulation value." As Marx already notes, the very process of money circulation leads to the separation of the monetary denomination from its actual content. Because money (gold) under circulation deterriorates; its nominal value already ceases to coincide with its immanent value; together with money becomes a token of value. But a token of value, born in the process of circulation, and can function only in the quality of means of circulation, in the quality of middle term of C-M-C.

But we already saw, that this formula C-M-C, as symbol of all commodity circulation of a given society, boils down in essense to the simple form of value, to the form

C - M.

But also for every individual act of exchange this form of value (C-M), though visibly also not emerging, all the same is a presupposition. Commodities in circulation associate as determined value, but this also means, that every given commodity already took its place in this formula, that it, located in the relational form of value, already has expressed its exchange value in the opposed to it equivalent - in money. But a sign of value such an equivalent could not be. Hence, the token of value, for instance, also paper money, separated from its real expression of the value of the commodity in the commodity-equivalent, possessing therefore its own value, stops to be even a token of value, because here there is not value at all, it becomes simply a scrap of degraded printed paper. Such paper money ceases to be also money.

The conception of paper money, in as much as we speak about it, as about money, necessarily therefore includes in itself the conception of such a general equivalent, which has real internal value, the signs of which it also is. Signs of value are, therefore, signs of gold, as money par excellence. But it's not at all obligatory, that this gold actually enters in circulation.

In fact, let's turn to that formula, which we got with the resume of our critique of the theory of Hilferding.

C - Δ (in the form of some bundle of paper money).

We showed, that here, strictly speaking, there's not even the form of value. It gets this meaning only in the case if we will regard this heap of paper money as representing some amount of gold, i.e. if we put under it a gold foundation:

C - Δ (heap of paper)
M (gold)

The laws, from this relation, we can formulate briefly, resorting, after Hilferding, to the optical metaphor. He, as we know, regarded money as direct reflection of those rays of value, which proceed from the general commodity heap. But the entire point is that these rays are invisible, and in conditions of commodity production they directly cannot be detected by any means. They can only be visible in the case when they are expressed in another thing, in money, and only if this thing itself possesses equal level of value, but which at the same time, nonetheless, here does not get any expression. These value rays by a "detour" reflection also reflect onto paper money. The force of this reflection, as is clear from the first view, hinges on two moments: 1) on the forces of the value of the original light, i.e. M (on the amount of gold) and 2) on this square, onto which it diffuses, or in which it is reflected, i.e. on the amount of circulating tokens of value.

In its turn, the quantity of M determines the quantity of C; but it not at all obligatorily equal to it. For every given moment, in every individual metamorphosis of C - M both C and M must be equal quantities in value. But for the series of successive moments this interrelation disappears, because one and the same M can successively n times reflect the value of commodities. But what is more important, - the real amount of this M (gold) not at all is necessary; real it must emerge only if for now it should be a factual transition of commodity from hand to hand, but with this money remains only a means of circulation, but, as such, it can be also a sign of value. But, like for circulation real money is demanded, even if really existing signs of value, then simultanously this puts the question also about the necessary amount of it. The determination of this amount, Marx also deduces from his formula, the determined amount demanded for circulation of money, here, and only here, also emerges socially necessary value in circulation.

We leave aside the other functions of money; for our goals enough also was said, because now must be completely clear the essence of the theory of Hilferding, as well as the whole difference between Marx and Hilferding. Hilferding's straight path brought him very far of the side from Marx: money for him again turns in a sort of riddle, in a sort of mystical thing.

In conclusion he shows helpless before a series of phenonomena of real money currency; but the "detour" path of Marx gives us strong Ariadne thread and leads us out of the most complex problem of this real money currency. For illustration we also stop in conclusion at one prying example.

Kautsky in the above named article characterises the theory of Hilferding, as a genuinely Austrian theory 58 . In fact, the phenomenon of money currency of Austria, and such analogue facts, relating to the Indian rupee, undoubtedly gave a direct push to Hilferding to revise the marxist theory of money. In Austria and in India he meets with an extremely prying phenomenon: after both these countries, under the presence of silver currency, there occured a transition to an inconvertible system, and the free coinage of gulden and rupee was discontinued, their course raised above parity. The value of metal valuta - gulden and rupee - already no longer were determined by the value of silver. "Monetary theorists are still plagued , - Hilferding says on this case, - by the question: What constitutes the standard of value when coinage is suspended? Obviously it is not silver (nor gold, when gold coinage is suspended)" 59 . However also Kautsky, critical of Hilferding, this circumstance exactly also put in some difficulty. From this difficulty he tries to leave in the following manner: he ask the question under which conditions this happened? - Under the presence of gold valuta and gold circulation in all other countries. Thereby, in Kautsky's opinion, gold factually is the measure of value also in Austria and in India, regardless of their silver currency. Under silver gulden and silver rupee he puts in this way gold, circulating in the quality of money for all others, at least, the developed capitalist countries. But what in the case with an incovertible gold valuta? What then is the measure of value? Because the case of such incovertible gold valuta is theoretically well thinkable. The theory of Marx gives us on this question a very simple answer. Incidentally, this answer gives also Kautsky himself, in his later work: "The value of paper money does not get determined by the labour which is really put in it, but it is determined by socially-necessary labour, namely the labour, which would be socially necessary to bring forth that amount of gold (which we from now on regard as the only money metal), which in the process of circulation is replaced by paper money." 60

If the value of paper money here Kautsky boils down to the value of gold, which would circulate if there was no paper money, then the value of the silver gulden and rupee and even an inconvertible gold valuta would be determined on the basis of the exact same principle. For they with suspended free coinage turn essentially in simple signs of value, or in paper money, but are printed in gold or silver (но напечатанные на золоте или серебре). And for the explanation of similar kind of phenomena there is not any necessity to undertake a revision of Marx and construct a "socially-necessary circulation value," which does not explain anything, and furthermore contradicts in the most categorical way the basics of the theory of value of Marx.

  • 1Позняков В. Гильфердинг или Маркс? (К критике теории денег Гильфердинга). - ПЗМ, 1926, No 1/2, с. 245-267. V.N. Poznjakov also wrote other articles and reviews in Under the Banner of Marxism from 1924 to 1929. He edited a number of works, including translations of Böhm-Bawerk and Tatiana Grigorovici's "Theory of value in Marx and Lassale."
    He wrote an article on "The problem of value and profit in the teachings of Adam Smith" (Позняков В. Н.. Проблемы цепкости и прибыли в учении Адама Смита, Проблемы теоретической экономики / под общ. ред.: Дволайцкого Ш. М. и Членова С. Б. - [М.] : Московский рабочий, 1925. - 496 с.); a book on "Qualified Labor and Marx's Theory of Value", 2nd edition 1925, 159 p. (Поздняков В.Н. Квалифицированный труд и теория ценности Маркса.-М.:Изд-во Коммунистического ун-та игл.Я.М.Свердлова); and together with S.A. Gurvich a tutorial for universities called "The wage. Theoretical foundations and modern problems, 1929, 141 p. (Гурвич С.А., Позняков В.Н. Заработная плата. Теоретические основы и современные проблемы: Учебное пособие для вузов. — М.; Л.: Гэсиздат). There seems to be no publishing activity from 1930 onward.
  • 2See "Новые идеи в экономике" (New ideas in economics), No 8, 1925, p. 29. А. Финн-Енотаевский
  • 3"In order to avoid the inconveniency of such situations (i.e. in natural exchange of commodity for commodity. V.P.), every prudent man in every period of society, after the first establishment of the division of labour, must naturally have endeavoured to manage his affairs in such a manner as to have at all times by him, besides the peculiar produce of his own industry, a certain quantity of some one commodity or other, such as he imagined few people would be likely to refuse in exchange for the produce of their industry. Many different commodities, it is probable, were successively both thought of and employed for this purpose." A. Smith, Wealth of Nation, B. I, ch. IV. http://marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-adam/works/wealth-of-nations/book01/ch04.htm
  • 4Character from Bulwer-Lytton's Night and Morning - translator's note
  • 5A. Finn-Enotaevsky, Money and credit, p. 67.
  • 6Ibid., p. 29.
  • 7We intend to translate "Wert" with the term "value"(tsennost). The term value (stojmost) we will use only in citations, where it is used in the source.
  • 8 See K. Kautsky. Gold, paper currency and commodity. - "Pod znam. Marks. No 11-12 of 1922, and also the anthology "Money and money currency in the light of Marxism". Publ. NKF. Moscow, 1923. http://marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1912/xx/gpcc.htm
  • 9See e.g., Hilferding. Money and commodity, in the same anthology. http://marxists.org/deutsch/archiv/hilferding/1912/03/geldware.htm
  • 10W. Motylev, The measure of value under paper money currency, - "Pod Znam. Mark." No 11-12, 1922, p. 164. http://libcom.org/library/measure-value-under-paper-money-currency-%E2%80%93-wolf-motylev
  • 11The above indicated article.
  • 12See the indicated article in "Pod Znamenem Marksizma", p. 152.
  • 13K. Marx, Outline of the critique of political economy. See "Towards the critique of political economy". Publ. "Mosk. Rabochij", 1923, p. 25.
  • 14Ibid. (italics in citation mine). Marx says further: "The method of rising from the abstract to the concrete is only the way in which thought appropriates the concrete, reproduces it as the concrete in the mind. But this is by no means the process by which the concrete itself comes into being."
  • 15See R. Hilferding, Finance Capital, III ed., 1918, Foreword, p. 13. http://marxists.org/archive/hilferding/1910/finkap/preface.htm
  • 16R. Hilferding, Finance Capital, p. 27. (chapter 1)
  • 17Ibid.
  • 18Ibid. Italics mine.
  • 19Ibid. p. 32-33. footnote.
  • 20Ibid. p. 27-28. Italics mine.
  • 21Ibid.
  • 22Ibid.
  • 23I point out, at least, p. 22-23 of "Finance Capital".
  • 24The article "Money and commodity".
  • 25R. Hilferding, Finance Capital, p. 33. Italics mine.
  • 26Ibid, p. 35. (chapter 2 http://www.marxists.org/archive/hilferding/1910/finkap/ch02.htm)
  • 27Ibid. Earlier in relation to gold money Hilferding said: "The producer does not learn... until after the completion of the exchange... that he is a fully-fledged member of a commodity producing society... The only proof he has of his usefulness as a member of society is another article ("The object which is authorized by the common action of commodities to express the value of all other commodities is – money", - Hilferding says a little below) which he obtains in exchange for his own. The thing which can give the producer this assurance must therefore have the necessary authorization (from the side of society. V.P.)." "Financ. cap.", p. 25. Here he still speaks about a thing(/article/object), but further on, as we see, he belies all connection with this [i[thing[/i], i.e., with the particular commodity - money.
  • 28Hilferding, "Financ. capit., p. 35. Italics mine.
  • 29Ibid.
  • 30We already pointed out, that if in general the correctness is recognized of the views of Hilferding, then this position must be spread also to metal money currency.
  • 31"Finance capital", p. 37-38. Italics mine.
  • 32Ibid., p. 39. Italics mine.
  • 33Ibid, p. 49-50.
  • 34K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, p. 123. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/ch02_2c.htm (in the English translation Hilferding's quote of Marx was put like this: "The worthless tokens are signs of value only in so far as they represent gold within the sphere of circulation, and they represent it only to the extent to which it would itself be absorbed as coin by the process of circulation; this quantity is determined by its own value, the exchange value of the commodities and the rapidity of their metamorphosis being given.")
  • 35See "Finance Capital", p. 67, footnote. And he continues: "The purely social character of that determination is far more clearly expressed when the value of paper money is derived directly from the social value in circulation. The fact that, historically, paper currency had its origin in metal currency is not a reason for regarding it in this way theoretically. The value of paper money must be deducible without reference to metallic money." (note 32)
  • 36"Finance Capital", p. 48.
  • 37"Das Wertzeichen ist unmittelbar nur Preiszeichen also Goldzeichen, und nur auf einem Unweg Zeichen des Werts der Waren". These words Hilferding cites, "Finance capital", p. 68, footnote 35.
  • 38Hilferding, Finance capital, p. 37.
  • 39Mentioned article in "Pod Znam. Marksizma", p. 166.
  • 40Mentioned article "Gold, paper money and commodity".
  • 41Named article, p. 148.
  • 42Ibid.
  • 43Ibid, p. 148-149.
  • 44"Finance capital", p. 34.
  • 45Mentioned, p. 149.
  • 46Ibid, p. 152.
  • 47Named article, p. 145.
  • 48K. Marx, Das Kapital, 1 B., 1922, p. 15.
  • 49R. Hilferding, "Finance capital", p. 24.
  • 50See "Finance capital", p. 38.
  • 51K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, p. 120.
  • 52K. Marx, Kapital, v. 1, transl. P. Struve, 1907, p. 28.
  • 53Ibid., p. 11.
  • 54Ibid, p. 44. (chapter 2)
  • 55K. Marx, Kapital, v. 1, p.11.
  • 56Ibid, p. 42.
  • 57Hilferding, Finance capital.
  • 58Mentioned article of Kautsky in "Pod Znamenem Marksizma", p. 152.
  • 59R. Hilferding. Finance capital, p. 47-48.
  • 60K. Kautsky, Sozialdemokratische Bermerkungen zur Uebergangswirtschaft 1918, chapter "Das Geld", p. 122. Der Wert des Papiergeldes wird allerdings nicht bestimmt durch die Arbeit, die in ihm wirklich steckt, aber dennoch wird er durch gesellschaftlich notwendige Arbeit bestimmt, nämlich durch die Arbeit, die gesellschaftlich notwendig wäre, um jene Menge Goldes (das wir von nun an als einziges Geldmettal betrachten wollen) zu erzeugen, die in der Warenzirkulation durch das Papiergeld ersezt wird.


Noa Rodman

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 6, 2012

Correction: the reference in footnote 4 should be to Ralph George Hawtrey, and not any character from Bulwer-Lytton's Night and Morning!