Money, or the Circulation of Commodities
Section 3 Money
THE MEASURE OF VALUES
Throughout this work, I assume, for the sake of simplicity, gold as the money-commodity.
The first chief function of money is to supply commodities with the material for the expression of their values, or to represent their values as magnitudes of the same denomination, qualitatively equal, and quantitatively comparable. It thus serves as a universal measure of value. And only by virtue of this function does gold, the equivalent commodity par excellence, become money.
It is not money that renders commodities commensurable. Just the contrary. It is because all commodities, as values, are realised human labour, and therefore commensurable, that their values can be measured by one and the same special commodity, and the latter be converted into the common measure of their values, i.e., into money. Money as a measure of value, is the phenomenal form that must of necessity be assumed by that measure of value which is immanent in commodities, labour-time.1
The price or money-form of commodities is, like their form of value generally, a form quite distinct from
their palpable bodily form; it is, therefore, a purely ideal or mental form. Although invisible, the value
of iron, linen and corn has actual existence in these very articles: it is ideally made perceptible by their
equality with gold, a relation that, so to say, exists only in their own heads. Their owner must, therefore,
lend them his tongue, or hang a ticket on them, before their prices can be communicated to the outside
world.2 Since the expression of the value of commodities in gold is a merely ideal act, we may use for
this purpose imaginary or ideal money. Every trader knows, that he is far from having turned his goods
into money, when he has expressed their
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|