Dean Kenning

Chapter 3: Money, or the Circulation of Commodities

Page 189

The price or money-form of commodities is, like their form of value generally, quite distinct from their palpable and real bodily form; it is therefore a purely ideal or notional form. Although invisible, the value of iron, linen and corn exists in these very articles: it is signified through their equality with gold, even though this relation exists only in their heads, so to speak. The guardian of the commodities must therefore lend them his tongue, or hang a ticket on them, in order to communicate their prices to the outside world. Since the expression of the value of commodities in gold is a purely ideal act we may use purely imaginary or ideal gold to perform this operation. Every owner of commodities knows that he is nowhere near turning them into gold when he has given their value the form of a price or of imaginary gold, and that it does not require the tiniest particle of real gold to give a valuation in gold of millions of pounds' worth of commodities. In its function as measure of value, money therefore serves only in an imaginary or ideal capacity.