Marx_ValuesofCommodities_2011

Marx_ValuesofCommodities_2011 - l85 50 Karl Marx 3 On...

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Unformatted text preview: l85 50 Karl Marx ( 3) On Imperialism in India Karl Marx (1353) All the English bourgeoisie may be forced to do will neither emancipate nor materi- ally mend the social condition of the mass of the people, dependmg not only on the development of the productive powers, but on their appropriation by the people. But what they will not fail to do is to lay down the material premises for both. i-las the bourgeoisie ever done more? Has it ever affected a progress Without draggmg lI‘t— dividuals and peoples through blood and dirt, through misery and degradation? The Indians will not reap the fruits of the new elements of society scattered among them by the British bourgeoisie, till in Great Britain itself the now ruling classes shall have been supplanted by the industrial proletariat, or till the Hindoos themselves shall have grown strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether. At all events, we may safely expect to see, at a more or less remote period, the regen— eration of that great and interesting country, whose gentle natives are, to use the ex— pression of Prince Soltykov, even in the most inferior classes, “plus fins er plus admits que les Italians,” whose submission even is counterbalanced by a certain calm nobil- ity, who, notwithstanding their natural languor, have astonished the British officers by their bravery, whose country has been the source of our languages, our religions, and who represent the type of the ancient German in the Ia: and the type of the an- cient Greek in the Brahmin. . . . The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilisation lies un- veiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked. They are the defenders of property, but did any revolutionary party ever originate agrarian revolutions like those in Bengal, in Madras, and in Bombay? Did they not, in lndia, to borrow an expression of that great robber, Lord Clive himself, resort to atrocious extortionl when simple corrup- tion could not keep pace with their rapacity? While they prated in Europe about the inviolable sanctity of the national debt, did they not confiscate in India the divi— dends of the rajnhs, who had invested their private savings in the Company's own funds? While they combatted the French revolution under the pretext of defending “our holy religion,” did they not forbid, at the same time, Christianity to be propa- gated in India, and did they not, in order to make money out of the pilgrims stream— ing to the temples of Orissa and Bengal, take up the trade in the murder and prosti— tution perpetrated in the temple of Iuggernaut? These are the men of “Property, Order, Family, and Religion.” The devastating effects of English industry, when contemplated with regard to In- dia, a country as vast as Europe, and containing 150 millions of acres, are palpable and confounding. But we must not forget that they are only the organic results of the whole system of production as it is now constituted. That production rests on the supreme rule of capital. The centralisation of capital is essential to the existence of capital as an independent power. The destructive influence of that centralisation upon the markets of the world does but reveal, in the most gigantic dimensions, the inherent organic laws of political economy now at work in every civilised town. The bourgeois period of history has to create the material basis of the new world—on the one hand the universal intercourse founded upon the mutual dependency of Excerpt from Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader. 2d ed. (New Yerk: W. W. Norton, 1973): pp. 662—664. 'I'he Values of Commodities _ l C) mankind, and the means of that intercourse; on the other hand the develo 111 nt f the productive powers of man and the transformation of material productildn fint 0 scientific domination of natural agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce creota these material conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revoluti a e have created the surface of the earth. When a great social revolution shall have moans tered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the model-S- powers of production, and subjected them to the cemmon control of the most ade vanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous a a idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain}? p g n The Values of Commodities Karl Marx (1867) The Two Factors of a Commodity: Use-Value and Value (The Substance of Value and the Magnitude of Value) The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails pre- sents‘ itself as :‘an immense accumulation of commodities,” its unit being a single hom— modlty. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity. A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its proper- ties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants whether, for instance. they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no differ: ence. Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production- ’ . Every useful thing, as iron, paper, 8tc., may be looked at from the two points of view of quality and quantity. It is an aSSemblage of many properties, and may there— fore be of use in various ways. To discover the various uses of things is the work of history. also is the establishment of socially— recognised standards of measure for the quantities of these useful objects. The diversity of these measures has its ori in partly III the diverse nature of the objects to be measured, partly in convention g ‘ The utility of a thing makes it a use—value. But this utility is not a thing of air Be- ing limited by the physical properties of the commodity, it has no existence apart from that commodity. A commodity, such as iron, corn. or a diamond is therefore so far as_1t is a material thing, a use—value, something useful. This propei'ty of a com: modity is independent of the amount of labour required to appropriate its useful qualities. When treating of use—value, we always assume to be dealing with definite quantities, such as dozens of watches, yards of linen, or tons of iron. The use~values of commodities furnish the material for a special study, that of the commercial knowledge of commodities. Use—values become a reality only by use or consump- tlon: they also constitute the substance of all wealth, whatever may be the social form of that wealth. In the form of society we are about to consider they are in ad- drtlon, the material depositories of exchange—value. ) I Enchange—value, at first sight, presents itself as a quantitative relation, as the pro- portion in which values in use of one sort are exchanged for those of another sort a relation constantly changing with time and place. Hence exchange—value appears to Excerpt from "Capital, Vol. I," in Robert C. "flicker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2d ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978], pp. 302—314. 52 KarlMarx (1867) be something accidental and purely relative, and consequently an intrinsic value, i.e., an exchangeevalue that is inseparably connected with, inherent in commodities, seems a contradiction in terms. Let us consider the matter a little more closely. A given commodity, e.g., a quarter of wheat is exchanged for x blacking, y_silk, or 3 gold, 8(c.—in short, for other commodities in the most different proportions. In- stead of one exchange—value, the wheat has, therefore, a great many. But since x blacking, y silk, or a gold, &c., each represent the exchange-value of one quarter of wheat, x blacking, y silk, 2 gold, &c., must, as exchange-values, be replaceable by each other, or equal to each other. Therefore, first: the valid exchange—values of a given commodity express something equal; secondly, exchange-value, generally, is only the mode of expression, the phenomenal form, of something contained in it, yet distin- guishable from it. Let us take two commodities, e.g., corn and iron. The proportions in which they are exchangeable, whatever those proportions may be, can always be represented by an equation in which a given quantity of corn is equated to some quantity of iron: e.g., 1 quarter corn = x cwt. iron. What does this equation tell us? It tells us that in two different things—in 1 quarter of corn and x cwt. of iron. there exists in equal quantities something common to both. The two things must therefore be equal to a third, which in itself is neither the one nor the other. Each of them, so far as it is ex- change—value, must therefore be reducible to this third. A simple geometrical illustration will make this clear. In order to calculate and com- pare the areas of rectilinear figures, we decompose them into triangles. But the area of the triangle itself is expressed by something totally different from its visible figure, namely, by half the product of the base into the altitude. In the same way the ex- change-values of commodities must be capable of being expressed in terms of some thing common to them all, of which thing they represent a greater or less quantity. This common “something” cannot be either a geometrical, a chemical, or any other natural property of commodities. Such properties claim our attention only in so far as they affect the utility of those commodities, make them use—values. But the exchange of commodities is evidently an act characterised by a total abstraction from use-value. Then one use-value is just as good as another, provided only it be present in sufficient quantity. Or, as old Barbon says, “one sort of wares are as good as another, if the values be equal. There is no difference or distinction in things of equal value- . . . An hundred pounds’ worth of lead or iron, is of as great value as one hundred pounds’ worth of silver or gold.” As use-values, commodities are, above all, of different qualities, but as exchange-values they are merely different quantities. and consequently do not contain an atom of use-value. If then we leave out of consideration the use-value of commodities, they have only one common property left, that of being products of labour. But even the prod- uct of labour itself has undergone a change in our hands. If we make abstraction from its use—value, we make abstraction at the same time from the material elements and shapes that make the product a use—value; we see in it no longer a table, a house, yarn, or any other useful thing. Its existence as a material thing is put out of sight. Neither can it any longer be regarded as the product of the labour of the joiner, the mason. the spinner, or of any other definite kind of productive labour. Along with the useful qualities of the products themselves, We put out of sight both the useful character of the various kinds of labour embodied in them, and the concrete forms of that labour; there is nothing left but what is common to them all; all are reduced to one and the same sort of labour, human labour in the abstract. W-III-M-quI-I mat-m”... .m.‘ NH.“ m mmrwJ-u‘r.----v.,_._‘u.‘\vl__wm The Values of Commodi ties 53 Let us now consider the residue of each of these products; it consists of th unsubstantial reality in each, a mere congelation of hOmogeneous human labe same labour-power expended without regard to the mode of its expenditure AlllurhOf these things now tell us is, that human labour-power has been expended ' h 3'“ production, that human labour is embodied in them. When looked at as cr mat] c" this social substance, common to them all, they are—Values. 3m 5 0f we have seen that when commodities are exchanged, their exchange-value m ' fests itself as something totally independent of their use-value, But if we abstam- from their use—value, there remains their Value as defined above. Therefore If}? common substance that manifests itself in the exchange-value of commoditi 8 whenever they are exchanged, is their value. The progress of our investigation show that exchange—value is the only form in which the value of commodities ca manifest itself or be expressed. For the present, however, we have to consider th n ture of value independently ofthis, its form. e na- A use—value, or useful article, therefore, has value only because human labour i the abstract has been embodied or materialised in it. How, then, is the magnitude of this value to be measured? Plainly, by the quantity of the value-creating substan the labour, contained in the article. The quantity of labour, however is measured (be, its duration, and labour—time in its turn finds its standard in weeks days and hours? Some people might think that if the value of a commodity is dieterrriined b the quantity of labour spent on it, the more idle and unskillful the labourer the more valuable would his commodity be, because more time would be required ,in its to duction. The labour, however, that forms the substance of value, is homogeneousphu: man labour,‘expenditure of one uniform labour-power. The total labour-power of so- ciety, which is embodied in the sum total of the values of all commodities roduced b that society, counts here as one homogeneous mass of human labour-gower y posed though it be of innumerable individual units. Each of these units is the sarhim- any other, so far as it has the character of the average labour—power of society anadS takes effect as such; that is, so far as it requires for producing a commodity no i‘nore time than is needed on an average, no more than is socially necessary, The labour—Lime socially necessary IS. that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time The introduction of power-looms into England probably reduced by one—half the labour requrred to weave a given quantity of yarn into cloth. The hand-loom weave as a matter of fact, continued to require the same time as before; but for all that tits; product of one hour of their labour represented after the change only half an h ’ur’ soc1al labour, and consequently fell to one-half its former value. 0 5 th We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is rzgmopnt of labour soc1ally necessary, or the labour—time soeially necessary for its p uction. Each indiwdual commodity, in this connexion, is to be considered as an laavtrféage sample of its class: Commodities, therefore, in which equal quantities of The 3:12:11: ggnbodied, or which can be produced in the same time, have the same value. for the red ortie COl'l'flIElOdlty to the value of any other, as the labour-time necessary val“ pll uc ion ‘0‘ e one is to that necessary for the production of the other. “As Tis, a commodities are only definite masses of congealed labour-time.” requifegagglfigf a cgmmodiltly would'therefore remain constant, if the labour—time variation in th pro duction so remained constant. But the latter changes with every iouS - 6 pro uctiveness of labour. This productiveness is determined by var— c1rcnmstances, amongst others, by the average amount of skill of the workmen. Karl Marx (1‘86?) 54 the state of science, and the degree of its practical application, the tsjocuil orgar‘ijisg- tion of production, the extent and capabilities of the means of pro uctilgln, ansony physical conditions. For example, the same amount of labour in favoura e sleab s ' bodied in 8 bushels of corn, and in unfavourable, only in four. The same a our lesxii-lalcts from rich mines more metal than from poor mines. Diamonds are of very rare occurrence on the earth’s surface. and hence their discovery costs, (ciln a: salglefir]:1 age, a great deal of labour-time. Consequently much labour is repreSIEnttlt 1131b. a compass. Iacob doubts whether gold has ever been paid for at its ful va gel.-l B1sa plies still more to diamonds. According to Bsmwege. the total produce 0 t e r f ian diamond mines for the eighty years, ending in 1823, had not realised the pug: one-and-a—half years’ average produce of the sugar and coffee plantateipns o e same country, although the diamonds cost much more-labour, and ther Ere riprs— sented more value. With richer mines, the same quantity of labour woul em oalylr itself in more diamonds, and their value would fall: if we could succeed as u expenditure of labour, in converting carbon into diamonds, their value miglt at. below that of bricks. In general, the greater the productiveness of labour, the ess isf the labour-time required for the production of an article, the less is the timpunt 1p labour crystallised in that article, and the less is its value; and vice versa, edess e productiveness of labour, the greater is the labour—time required. for the pro uction of an article. and the greater is its value. The value of_a commodity, therefore, varies directly as the quantity, and inversely as the productiveness, of the labour incorpo- ' it. I lIatlftdthuing can be a use—value, without having value. This is the case whenevglr it: utility to man is not due to labour. Such are air,v1rgin soil, natural meadows, thing can be useful, and the product of human labour, without being a commo try. Whoever directly satisfies his wants with the produce of his own labour, creates, in- deed, use—values. but no commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must rriEt only produce use—values, but use-values for others, socral use-values. (And not oh‘y for others, without more. The mediaeval peasant produced quit—rent-corn for is feudal lord and tithe—corn for his parson. But neither the quit—rent—corn nor the tithe-corn became commodities by reason of the fact that they had been produced for others. To become a commodity a product must be transferred _to another, whom it will serve as a use-value, by means of an exchange.) Lastlynothing can have value, without being an object of utility. If the thing is useless, so is the labour con- tained in it; the labour does not count as labour, and therefore creates no value. The Two-fold Character of the Labour Embodied in Commodities At first sight a commodity presented itself to us as a complex of two things—use- value and exchange-value. Later on, we saw also that labour, too, possesses the sanfie two-fold nature; for, so far as it finds expression in value, it does not possess t e same characteristics that belong to it as a creator of use-values. I was the first point out and to examine critically this two-fold nature of the labour containled 1:11l commodities. As this point is the pivot on which a clear comprehension of Po itic Economy turns, we must go more into detail. _ f i Let us take two commodities such as a coat and 10 yards of linen, and let the or mer be double the value of the latter, so that, if 10 yards of linen = W, the coat = 2W- The Values of Commodities 55 The coat is a use-value that satisfies a particular want. Its existence is the result of a special sort of productive activity, the nature of which is determined by its aim, mode of operation, subject, means, and result. The labour, whose utility is thus represented by the value in use of its product, or which manifests itself by making its product a use-value, we call useful labour. in this connexion we consider only its useful effect. As the coat and the linen are two qualitatively different use—values, so also are the two forms of labour that produce them, tailoring and weaving. Were these two objects not qualitatively different, not produced respectively by labour of different quality, they Could not stand to each other in the relation of commodities. Coats are not ex- changed for coats, one use-value is not exchanged for another of the same kind. To all the different varieties of values in use there correspond as many different kinds of useful labour, classified according to the order, genus, species, and variety to which they belong in the social division of labour. This division of labour is a neces- sary condition for the production of commodities, but it does not follow, conversely, that the production of commodities is a necessary condition for the division of labour. In the primitive Indian community there is Social division of labour, without production of commodities. Or, to take an example nearer home, in every factory the labour is divided according to a system, but this division is not brought about by the operatives mutually exchanging their individual products. Only such products can become commodities with regard to each other, as mm“ from different kinds of labour, each kind being carried on independently and for the account of private individuals. To resume, then: In the use-value of each commodity there is contained useful labour, 1'. a, productive activity of a definite kind and exercised with a definite aim. Use—values cannot confront each other as commodities, unless the useful labour em- bodied in them is qualitatively different in each of them. In a community, the pro- duce of which in general takes the form of commodities, i.e., in a community of commodity producers, this qualitative difference between the useful forms of labour that are carried on independently by individual producers, each on their own ac— count, develops into a complex system, a social division oflabour. Anyhow, whether the coat be worn by the tailor or by his customer, in either case it operates as a use—value. Nor is the relation between the coat and the labour that produced it altered by the circumstance that tailoring may have become a special trade, an independent branch of the social division of labour. Wherever the want of clothing forced them to it, the human race made clothes for thousands of years, without a single man becoming a tailor. But coats and linen, like every other element of material wealth that is not the spontaneous produce of Nature, must invariably owe their existence to a special productive activity, exercised with a definite aim, an activity that appropriates particular nature—given materials to particular human wants. So far therefore as labour is a creator of use-value, is useful labour, it is a nec- essary condition, independent of all forms of society, for the existence of the human race; it is an eternal nature—imposed necessity, without which there can be no mate- rial exchanges between man and Nature, and therefore no life. The use-values, co at, linen, 8rc., £16., the bodies of commodities, are combinations of two elements—matter and labour. If we take away the useful labour expended upon them, a material substratum is always left, which is furnished by Nature with- out the help of man. The latter can work only as Nature does, that is by changing the form of matter. Nay more, in this work of changing the form he is constantly helped by natural forces. we see, then, that labour is not the only source of material wealth: The Fetishism of Commodities 59 58 H . . . ere two different kinds of commodities {in our example the linen and th e coat), Widele play two differen ‘ t parts. The linen ' - serves as th ‘ - - , expresses its value in - latter a passivrpaterial which that value is expressed. The former pliiescai)?’ “‘le mat in relative for”; Earl: waft Valoflieatgf the [men represented as relative leue d1: Lidia’s-tail: , - es as equiv ent ' ' ' The relati . '01" 313136313 1n e uivalc ve form and the equ 1valent form are two intimatelchonneilieilxrliiutuall * Y 0n the one hand all labour is, speaking physiologically, labour-power, and in its character of identical abstract hum forms the value 0 other hand, all labour is the expenditure of f commodities. On the human labour-power in d with a definite arm, a special form an acter of concrete useful labour, it produces use-values. The Form of Value or Exchange-Value e world in the shape of use-values, articles, or goods, such as iron, linen, corn, are. This is their plain, homely, bodily form. They are, how- ever, commodities, only because they are something two-fold. both objects of utility, and, at the same time, depositories of value. They manifest themselves therefore as or have the form of commodities, only in so far as they have two 1 or natural form and a value-fOrm. dities differs in this respect from Dame Quickly, .” The value of commodities is the very opposite f matter enters into its Commodities come into th commodities, forms, a physica The reality of the value of commo that we don’t know “where to have it of the coarse materiality of their substance, composition. Turn and examine a single commodity, by itself, as we will, yet in so far as it remains an object of value, it seems impossible to grasp it. If, however, we bear in mind that the value of commodities has a purely social reality, and that they ac- quire this reality on bodiments of one iden~ ly in so far as they are expressions or em tical social substance, via, human labour, that value it follows as a matter of course, can only manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to commodity. In fact we started tram exchange-value, or the exchange relation of commodities, in ' order to get at the value that lies hidden behind it. We must now return to this form under which value first appeared to us. Every one knows, if he knows nothing else, that commodities have a value—form rked contrast with the varied bodily forms common to them all, and presenting a ma form. Here, however, a task is set us, the of their use-values. i mean their money- been attempted by bourgeois economy, the performance of which has never yet even task of tracing the genesis of this money—form, of developing the expression of value implied in the value—relation of commodities, from its simplest. almost impercepti- ble outline, to the dazzling money-form. By doing this we shall, at the same time, solve the riddle presented by money. The simplest value—relation is evidently that of one commodity to some one other between the values of Me com— cornmodity of a different kind. Hence the relation modifies supplies us with the simplest expression of the value of a single commodity. Elementary or Accidental Form of Value: at commodity A = y commodity B, or x commodity A is worth y commodity B. 20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or 20 yards of linen are worth 1 coat. The Two Poles of the Expression of Value: Relative Form and Equivalent Form The whole mystery of the form of value lies hidden in this elementary form. analysis, therefore, is our real difficulty. Its dependent and inse . parable elements of the ’ t me, ‘ . . expressron of valu ' slion égemgugilly exclusive, antagonistic extremes—fie. poles 06f, 311:, at the same relation by 1h; exotted'respec‘tively to the two different commodities birdie lixp'IES— Yards of linen _ 2cpressson. It is not possible to eitpress the value of linen i t mm equation metal} 533:}! stogineréis 1;}; expression of value. On the contrary 20 . a yar s o inen are n th' ’ an efi t ’ I o in else than ' 31.8522; 3:11:12? pf tllie use-value linen. The value of ihe linen cit? EdgdfOf lib-1m, a e a we y—-—t.e., in some othe ' are 6 ex‘ valueo t I in r commodit . The r l ' here th: Clair-1:31:21": Eipposes, therefore, the prescnce oi some :tfiéfEOfi'loIEL-n the that figures as the er. ae1 form of an equivalent. 0n the other hand the como ltd"— semnd commOdit;(!UIV ten: cannot at the same time asSume the relative in 13%th is no t e one whose value is ex I . t _ _ _ ressed.l ' ' serge3 ads otl'iilr:tmla1terial in which the value of the first cgmmoditt: “on Edmerdy to 1 coat im l_,t :expressmn 20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or 20 yards ogiiiise - yards Bf “1:161:15 tB e opposrte relation: 1 coat = 20 yards of linen or 1 co are worth value of the céatufinlllthilt‘caSfil must reverse the equation, in order :0 :xwonhtlio lent instead of th e a Neil, and, so soon as I do that the linen becomes thpress' e _ e coat. single commodi I e equiva- Sume’ t I ty cannot, therefore, ' makes]; be same expressmn of value, both forms. The very olaSI'mmtfanmuSIY ES- Wh heml‘ihnutually exclusrve. p my 0 these forms et er, en,a commoditya s ' form) d _ ‘ 5 times the relative form, or the o ‘ ' is uporfpfifiishentirely upon its accidental position in the profiles? :lquwalem madit . h. er it Is the commodity whose value is bein ex v ue—‘that y in w 1ch value is being expressedé g preSSEd or the com— The Fetishism of Commodities Karl Marx (1867) A commodi - . . analYSiS Shoalsaggpaasisatigrstajight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood 1L5 subtleties and theolo i 3:] 're ' fly} a very quier thing‘ abounding in metaph S'ical terious about it Whephc nicetiesi. So far as it is a value in use, there is nothin 3:11 it is capable of satisfy- at if cons’d‘" ‘t 50‘“ the Point of view that by its rogertYS— the Product of hu inlg uman wants, or from the point that those propertpies Its changes the formsnéapithabour. It is as clear as noon-day. that man by hi:J indusare them useful to him The :omateipals furnished by Nature, in such d way as to mi): of it. Yet, for all thai th 1 0 wfmd' for Instance’ is altered' bl" making a table out But. so soon as it ste, 5 go aih e commues to- be that common’ everY'daY thing Wood dent. It not onl t pd r- i5 a commo‘htl’vlt i5 Changed into somethin trdnsc Y s an s “nth “5 feet on the ground: but. in relation to all Ether coemn- Excelpt from Ca ' l n -! I Pliai, \I'Dl. I, m RObEIt C IUCkCl' Ed 1?“? Marx Eng!“ Reade! ed 116" tout“ “‘4. Norton. pp. I I ( ‘ 60 Karl Marx f its wooden brain grotesque ideas, it stands on its head, and evolves out o - n far more wonderful than “table-turning ever was. modities, The mystical character of commodities does not originate, therefore, in their use— value. Just as little does it proceed from the nature of the determining factors of value. For, in the first place, however varied the useful kinds of labour, or productive activities, may be, it is a physiological fact, that they are functions of the human or- ganism, and that each such function, whatever may be its nature or form, is essen— tially the expenditure of human brain, nerves, muscles, Ste. Secondly, with regard to that which forms the groundwork for the quantitative determination of value, ' or the quantity of labour, it is quite clear namely, the duration of that expenditure, that there is a palpable difference between its quantity and quality. In all states of so— ciety, the labour-time that it costs to produce the means of subsistence, must neces— sarily be an object of interest to mankind, though not of equal interest in different stages of development. And lastly, from the moment that men in any way work for their labour aSsumes a social form. one another, Whence, then, arises the enigmatical character of the product of labour, so som as it assumes the form of commodities? Clearly from this form itself. The equality of all sorts of human labour is expressed objectively by their products all being equally valued; the measure of the expenditure of labour-power by the duration of that ex- penditure, takes the form of the quantity of value of the products of labour; and fi- nally, the mutual relations of the producers, within which the social character of their labour affirms itself, take the form of a social relation between the products. A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social char- acter of men’s labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour. This is the reason why the products of labour become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses. In the same way the light from an object is perceived by us not as the subjective excitation of our optic nerve, but as the objective form of something outside the eye itself. But, in the act of seeing, there is at all events, an actual paSsage of light from one thing to another, from the external object to the eye. There is a physical relation between physical things. But it is different with commodities. There, the existence of the things qua commodities, and the value-relation between the products of labour which stamps them as com- modities, have absolutely no connexion wit material relations arising there men, that assumes, in their eyes, order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist- gions of the religious world. In that world the productions of the human brain ap— dowed with life, and entering into relation both with it one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the pear as independent beings en products of men’s handS. This 1 call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the prod‘ ucts of labour, so soon as they are pro inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of commodities has its origin, as the foregoing analysis has alread)r shown, in the peculiar social character of the labour that produces them. As a general rule, articles of utility become commodities, only because theyr arc-5, products of the labour of private individuals or groups of individuals who carry 0111., h their physical properties and with the _;.; from. There it is a definite social relation between V: '_ the fantastic form of a relation between things. In ‘ - . duced as commodities, and which is therefore . Labour—Power and Capital 61 their Work independently of each other The sum I I _ . total of the labour ofall th ‘ vate individuals forms the. aggregate labour of society. Since the producersed: pn‘ coil-he into soctal contact with each other until they exchange their products the net c1f 1c 8(1)::131 character of each producer’s labour does not show itself except fn mi: pbexc arttge. In other words, the labour of the individual asserts itself as a part of the 1;: 111151133 6 fggtgtytzpnly tllJIY meains of the relatiOns which the act of exchange estab e een e pro nets, and indirectly throu h th b - ducers. To the latter therefore the relations con ’ ' g cm, etween the pro- . , , nectmg the labour of o ' d' 'd with that of the rest appear not as direct so ‘ ' m m m Hal , cial relations between ' d' ’d work, but as what they really are material rela ' m WI uals at I . ‘ , . trons between persons and soc’ l - trons betwelen thlngs. It_1s only by being exchanged that the products of labfiufed: guire, as v: ues, ofne qniform social status, distinct from their varied forms of exis ence as o jects o uti ity. This division of a product into ful th' — becomes practically important on] a us": mgs and a value . , ywhen exchan e has a u1red h ' that useful articles are produced for the g ' cq sue an ememmn purpose of being exchan ed a d th ' actor as values has therefore to be taken into g , n e" Char- . . account, beforehand, dur' - {triggfgyprgltluitmogneq}: the labour of the individual producer acquirirsigsgdiidifyca - ara er. n e one and, it must as a definite ful kind isfy a definite social want, and thus hold its ’1 use Of labour, sat- labour of all as a branch of a social divis' P ace as Part and parcel 0f the conecfive , . ion of labour that has 5 run — Eeouslly. On the other hand, It can satisfy the manifold wants of die indiirliglliglonta- Us:qu bflirnself, only in tit: flat as the mutual exchangeability of all kinds of a our is an esta 's ed social fact and therefore th ' - each producer ranks on an equality with th 8 private useful labour 0f I _ at of all others The e 31’ ' most different kinds of labour can be the result . qu 153mm Of the _ I I only of an abstraction fr th ' ' equalities, or of reducing them to their common d ' ' 0m ' at In— human labour-power or human labour in th '0 enommator' ml, expendnure 0f ‘ . tract. The two-fold 'al of the labour of the mdlvidual a 'e a s 500 Character ppears to him when reflected' h' b ' der thOSe forms which are im , ' m 15 mm, only un- pressed upon that labour in eve -d ' exchange of products In this wa ' W W Pramce by the I . . y, the character that his own lab ing soc1ally useful takes the form of the condit’ th our possesses 0f be- , he roduct tb useful, but useful for others and the so ' ion at t p mus e nDt only _ , c1al character that his rt' 1 belng the equal of all other particular kinds of labour, takefiatlfeufoarlirliailfdlrallflstli): physically different articles that th it!!! Viz" that of havmg value-é are e products of labour, have one common qual— LabOur-Power and Capital Karl Marx (1867) The c ' mpimglapfjniiiflieepiat 9CC$S in the case lof money intended to be converted into , ce m e money itse f since in its fu ' Ch ‘ , nction of means of ur- buarsseoqngapf fpityrnieait, 1t lfoils nohmore than realise the price of the commodify it . s r; an , as ar cas , it is value etrified ' ' can 1t originate in the second act of c' 111 ' P , never varymg- luSt as little does ire anon, the re-sale of the commodi wh' h not more than transform the artlcle from its bodily form back agairiyintolits Excerpt from 'Ca ‘ a! I e a — p‘lt , Vol, I, m Robert C. I M i . t ’ l L ‘ I ticker, d., The rx Engels Reader, 2d ed. (New York: ...
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Marx_ValuesofCommodities_2011 - l85 50 Karl Marx 3 On...

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