The Origin of the Money-form of value

The Origin of the Money-form of value

Commodities have intrinsic value and money is a commodity. Therefore, money is a form of value. However, individuals have become more familiar with money than the amount it has in other forms. Money is a form of value for instance in estimating the value of goods in an in the production process as well as finished products that await sale (Jessop, 1999). The different form of commodities has a value that is expressed as an equivalent of a specific amount of money. Even as traders exchange commodities without attaching monetary transactions, they still have to estimate a particular value for their products to find the same commodity to trade and avoid transferring money.  Therefore, commodities have the power of exchangeability. Value is, therefore, the overall power of exchangeability that dwells in the commodities.

For instance, gold as a commodity has no price attached to it, but its price is in the formal role that makes it have a high value.  Without money, products will have to use value as opposed to intrinsic value (Jessop, 1999). Considering commodity A and B has exchange value which is money. The value of commodity A is present in commodity B. However, and the A plays an active exchange role while B plays a passive role. The two commodities must, therefore, have attached value to facilitate the exchange process. Once a product has a value assigned to it, it is impossible to attach the same value to the same commodity; hence the power of exchangeability will exist if different commodities have different values.

The commodity owners have different desires and interests for the value they derive from the commodities; thus the actual difference in transaction processes. The different form of value symbolizes the worth of the commodities thus facilitating trade and measure of cost and benefit of a product (Jessop, 1999). The money form of value could take the simple form in which it expresses the dual relationship between the relative importance of commodity A and equivalent value of another commodity.  It, therefore, means that the bundle of use value for commodity A is worth the same package of use value for commodity B although the commodities might have different roles to a consumer. In as much as the products have the same value, the real cost of labor for the commodities vary. Therefore, the commodities can be revalued or devalued depending on the conditions for trading and changes in the cost of production.

The expanded form of value has an equation with the quantities of different commodities, but they alternate as either relative or equivalent form to be equal to each other.  The expanded form thus becomes inadequate because determining the value of a commodity requires the calculation of the quantity of products present (Jessop, 1999). For instance, if traders usually trade commodity A for B then trade commodity B for C, determining the worth of A in terms of C requires the conversion of the amounts to B which becomes inefficient especially if the exchange process involves many commodities at the same time. The general form of value expresses the value of several commodities in one standard commodity. In this case, few products act as the standard of value used to compare other goods. However, using standard commodities is also challenging since not all traded goods can serve as equivalent value. The introduction of money solved the problem.

Money as a commodity has the power of exchangeability and can measure and express the value of other traded products. People have been involved in barter trade in which they exchanged goods without requiring the use of money, but some but the use of currencies gold and silver led to the development of money-form of value. If the transaction process involves money, then money becomes the general form of expression of value.


Jessop B. (1999). Karl Marx’s Social and  Political Thought, Volume 8. ISBN 0415193265, 9780415193269


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