Money as Money: Suzanne de Brunhoff’s Marxist Monetary Theory

Abstract: This article proposes the necessity to return to Suzanne de Brunhoff’s Marxist monetary theory in order to conceptualise the relationship between production and social reproduction within financialised capitalist social relations. De Brunhoff maintains a commitment to understanding «money as money» or money as an independent variable, with a focus on a monetary theory of credit. By representing un-valorised value, credit money cannot simply be understood as representative of reified forms of value and therefore corresponding subjection to the form cannot be interpreted from the point of view of the fetish character only. In this way, money is a form that, although is immanent to capital, is at the same time other to capital. With focus on an intervention de Brunhoff made within the pages of the «workerist» journal «Primo Maggio», this article will go on to deploy de Brunhoff’s reading of money as a way to understand the interplay between two readings of money that continue divide the field of Marxian thought into Marxism and post-Marxism: money as command over exploited labour or «money as capital», versus commodification of social life under the commodity-money-capital relation. What this article will show is that it is de Brunhoff’s focus on «money as money» that offers us a unique position from which to account for concerns propagated between these two sides and in doing so gives us a unique entry point into understanding the internal complexities of the capital relation in the present.

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