The Golden Contradiction: A Marxist Theory of Gold : with Particular Reference to South Africa
Concentrating on the heyday of ‘hard money’, The Golden Contradiction is a work of political economy which explains how the traditional ‘constancy’ of gold came to give way to a daily-fluctuating gold price. Its central thesis is that gold materialises the contradiction between money and capital. The fixed gold price is radically re-examined while the reverence of the gold standard system is challenged. Gold-producing labour is then shown to be both engaged and exercised according to different economic rules to those for labour in general. This underlies both the absurd life of the ‘Wild West’ gold digger and the origins of apartheid in South Africa. California from 1849 to c.1865 and South Africa from 1886 to c.1907 are described against the backdrop of the entire world history of gold production, both technologically and socially, to reveal a revolution in gold economics. Far from gold-mining companies separating black from white mine workers, Dr Stemmet shows that the mines found such a division already in place and sought, instead, to separate black gold miners from black workers in general. This was the first and most elementary form of apartheid. The Golden Contradiction is part theoretical, part descriptive and part polemical. Using Marx to go beyond Marx, Dr Stemmet also writes in defence of theory pure and simple, and treats the reader to the elegance of theory as a process.
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Gold as money
The moneycommodity and the value of labourpower
Gold as capital
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abstract labour actual allowed already amount appears assume average basis becomes body capital capitalist Chamber character circuit circulation commodity companies competition concrete labour consumption cost currency demand described discussion distinction early economy effect examined exchange value existence expression extraction fact fixed force further given gold production goldmining Group hand hence human ibid important increase individual industry Innes labour-time less living lode Marx material means measure metals mining monopoly native nature necessary nineteenth century object occurs offered operations particular period placer portion position present problem quantity question reduced relation relatively remains represented role serves shares silver simply social society South African specific standard surplus-value token unit universal use-value value of gold value of labour-power wage-labour wages wealth Witwatersrand workers workforce