Mardi | 2017-05-09
16h00-17h20 salle des thèses


The integration of money in Ricardo’s theory of value and distribution is realised in Principles and the 1819-1823 papers by putting the standard of money centre stage. This raises two questions: Is money a commodity ? Is the standard of money (gold bullion) a commodity? The paper offers a negative answer to the first and a qualified positive one to the second. In Ricardo’s mature theory of money, in which the value of money depends on the value and on the price of the standard, money is neither a competitively-produced commodity nor a monopolised one. However, discarding a commodity-theory of money did not mean for Ricardo adopting a quantity theory: the determination of the value of money is sui generis in that the quantity of money is “regulated” by the standard. Although produced by the competition of capitals, this standard of money is a very special commodity: it should not be part of the system of production of commodities that determines the relative prices and the distribution of income. The fulfilment of this condition does not require the standard to be metallic: it could as well be a public bond purchased and sold for money by a central bank at a fixed price and traded on a secondary market – a situation not far from that of our modern economies.