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Marx & Adam Smith

1. Marx's notion of the fetishism of commodities derived from "the peculiar social character of the labour that produces" commodities (Marx 436). He makes the claim that commodities have a peculiar character that derives neither from use value nor from determining factors of value. Human industry changes the forms of natural materials into useful objects. Such an object has a certain value in use (i.e., it satisfies particular human wants) and this value in use is clearly the result of human labor. The quantitative determination of value is based on such factors as the length of time it takes to produce the object and the quantity of labor involved. But "from the moment that men in any way work for one another" their labor also takes on a social form and it is from this fact that commodities derive their unusual nature (Marx 435). The social nature of people's labor takes on an objective character as the relation of the producers to their labor is, in a commodity, presented to them as a social relation between the products rather than between themselves. In other words, once people work for other people they no longer have a relationship with the producers of other products and the product (commodity) itself is assumed to be the possessor of all value. The maker of a table does not trade, or even buy, a pair of shoes from the maker of the shoes. Instead there is a value relation between the products of labor produced for other people that evolves from the exchange of products. The commodities are equated in value (so many pairs of shoes are worth a table) and, therefore, human labor of all kinds is equated at the same time--but in a hidden fashion. By employing the analogy of the pagan idol or fetish Marx slyly indicated how human labor is hidden and ignored in the exchange of commodities just as the worshipper of a fetish ignores the fact that it was made or chosen by human efforts. This had very important implications for...

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Marx & Adam Smith. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 15:42, May 20, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1694952.html