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Unformatted text preview: The Fetishism of Commodities What is the mystery of commodities, that mystical being that Karl Marx writes so fancifully about? The mystery lies outside of our basic observations, that they are capable of satisfying human wants and are products of human labor. These properties of a commodity are what give the product use-value. What is far beyond the use-value is the numinous affect that commodities have on humans. It causes us to bestow on them symbolic values, turning them into individual beings while at the same time being oblivious to the human labor behind them. Products of labor become commodities as a social relationship is formed between the products themselves, rather than between the laborer and the producer. These relationships arise in defining how they are equivalent to each other: their exchange value. Marx writes about the absurdity of value and how humans are so anxious to place it on objects. What determines the value of something anyways? Is it usefulness? Many times things that have no apparent utility or necessity are deemed very valuable. Marx uses the example in which an ounce of gold being as valuable as one ton of iron and criticizes the absurd way in which this kind of value is what producers use to compare products, causing them to compare labor in the same absurd form. producers use to compare products, causing them to compare labor in the same absurd form....
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- Fall '06