Submission to the mini-conference of the International Working Group on Value Theory, hosted by the Eastern Economic Association, 1997. This paper can be thought of as a detailed study of the relation between labour and money; more precisely, it examines the concept, due to Alejandro Ramos, of the ‘Monetary Expression of Labour Time’ (MELT). This notion has since entered the literature and is used, for example, by ‘New Solution’ scholars, though usually without acknowledging Ramos’s contribution, an omission which when done consciously, I consider not only suppressive but implicitly racist. A further cause for concern is that New Solution scholarship has subsequently evolved from Foley’s original ‘agnostic’ presentation towards explicitly equilibrium refoundations. The concept is also employed by Moseley in his own single-system equilibrium ‘monetary’ framework, but it must be noted, with due acknowledgement of original sources.
In either case, however, a temporal concept – the MELT – has been effectively appropriated into an equilibrium framework, without recognising that this transforms the meaning of the concept.
In this early paper, written before this evolution was complete, I sought to demonstrate the connection between a rigorous notion of the MELT and temporal approaches to the way capitalist economies function; it is not possible to formulate the MELT in either a consistent or a general way, without recognising that, as I later put it, ‘exchange consistency’, that is to say, without recognising that the money paid by the buyers of a commodity is the same as the money received by the sellers. In an equilibrium framework, other than in the exceptional and unreal case of an unchanging economy, exchange consistency is not respected, so that money either appears from nowhere, or disappears without being accounted for. This paper was an early investigation of the necessary relation between temporalism and a general formalization of the MELT.

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