Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - Fetishism of Commodities Central Claim In a...

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Fetishism of Commodities
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Central Claim In a market economy, relations between producers do NOT appear as social relations at first sight because they are mediated by market exchange; nevertheless, economic relations ARE social relations
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Background Concrete labor– produces use values Abstract labor- produces values or exchange values Commodities embody BOTH forms of labor, they are the product of concrete labor, they are also the product of abstract labor, human labor that is COMPARABLE to that of other humans producing commodities.
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Use values Production of use values means production NOT for the market Examples: Household production Production within communities Most human labor most of the time, even today, probably most human labor is expended this way (e.g., women’s labor in households)
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Abstract labor “The equalization of the most different kinds of labor can be the result only of an abstraction from their inequalities, or of reducing them to their common denominator, viz. expenditure of human labor-power or human labor in the abstract.”
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Abstract labor “[…] whenever, by an exchange, we equate as values our different products, by that very act, we also equate, as human labor, the different kinds of labor expended upon them. We are not aware of this, nevertheless we do it .”
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Abstract labor creates an illusion “The equality of all sorts of human labor is expressed objectively by their products all being equally values; the measure of the expenditure of labor-power by the duration of that expenditure,
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This note was uploaded on 07/02/2008 for the course SOC 101 taught by Professor Mark during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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Lecture 5 - Fetishism of Commodities Central Claim In a...

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