The following isn’t Russia related, at least not directly. I’m reading David Harvey’s A Companion to Marx’s Capital, which anyone interested in getting through Marx’s opus should pick up. Harvey has transformed his lectures on Capital into book form. Anyway, I’m going through the chapter on money and a question popped into my head regarding its dual nature as a measurement between things and its existence as a commodity. Harvey writes:
We would obviously prefer the quantitative representation of value to be a stable standard of measurement. Gold is a specific commodity, though; its value is given by the socially necessary labor-time embodied in it, and this is not, as we have seen, constant. Fluctuations in the concrete conditions of production affect the value of gold (or any other money commodity). Since, however, such changes affect “all commodities simultaneously,” then “other things being equal . . . the mutual relations between their values [are] unaltered, although those values are now all expressed in higher or lower gold-prices than before” (57)
Gold no longer plays the role as the universal equivalent between commodities. The power of money as a universal equivalent is based as much on faith as it is on the control of its quantity in circulation. However, money, either as paper or coin, is still a physical commodity produced somewhere out of something by someone. The material it’s made of, the machines that shape it, the ink used to imprint the faces of dead presidents, and the transportation systems that send it into its virginal circulation are part and parcel to any commodity. Human labor is behind all these processes used to create the money commodity.
Hence my question: If money is a commodity, does the cost of producing it factor into its value? Or, to put it in another way, what is the cost of money?