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Commodities are the fundamental units of capitalism, a form of economy based on the intense accumulation of such objects.
This usefulness is its use-value, a property intrinsic to the commodity. Commodities also possess an exchange-value, the relative value of a commodity in relation to other commodities in an exchange situation.
Unlike use-value, exchange-value is not intrinsic to a commodity. Exchange-value allows one to determine what one commodity is worth in relation to another commodity, for example how many units of corn one might exchange for a given unit of linen. In a complex market, all sorts of different commodities, although satisfying different needs and wants, must be measurable in the same units, namely money.
Marx poses the question of where this value comes from. How is it that commodities with different use-values can be measurable in the same units? His answer is that universal measure for value, expressed in terms of money, corresponds to the amount of labor time that goes into the making of each commodity.
Labor time is the only thing that all commodities with different use-values have in common and is thus the only criterion by which they are comparable in a situation of exchange.
Exchange-value allows this market to function. The second, which is not so obvious and is in fact obscured by the first, is that commodities reflect not only the labor that went into making them but the social relations of production in which the labor was performed.
This social aspect of commodities cannot express itself because in capitalist society the quality of a commodity is thought to emanate solely from its price, not from that which money expresses, namely social labor.
The fact that people are moved to mistakenly reduce the quality of a commodity to money alone leads Marx to argue that modern capitalist society has invested the money-form with mystical or magical significance.
Those who comment on the nature of economy, in particular bourgeois economists, reduce economics and the production and exchange of commodities to the behavior of money and in so doing always avoid looking at what commodities represent in social terms.
In so doing, the bourgeoisie is conveniently able to ignore the fact that commodities emerge through an inherently exploitative system of wage labor. Although economic activity is apparently reducible to the behavior of money, to focus only on money is barely to scratch the surface.
Production and exchange are social institutions, and their organization has social consequences. Capitalism, founded on a principle of private ownership, has the owners of the means of production factories, raw materials dependant on wage labor to create profits.
Modern economists do not accept the Labor Theory of Value as an explanation of prices, but that is not really the sense in which Marx intended the theory to be used. In the simplest form of circulation of commodities, a commodity is transformed into money, which is then transformed back into a commodity as someone sells a commodity for money and then uses that money to buy a commodity they need.
In this very basic market arrangement, people produce commodities so that they can obtain money to buy the commodities that they need. This dynamic naturally emerges in societies with a simple division of labor, in which different people specialize in the production of different commodities.
Capitalism operates in accordance with different principles. Capitalists do not see money as a means of exchanging the commodities they produce for the commodities they need but as something to be sought after for its own sake.
The capitalist starts with money, transforms it into commodities, then transforms those commodities into more money. Capital is money used to obtain more money.The ideas of Marx have never been more relevant than they are today.
This is reflected in the thirst for Marxist theory at the present time. In this article, Alan Woods deals with the main ideas of Karl Marx and their relevance to the crisis we're passing through today.
It is years since the death of Karl Marx. First, I explain Marx’s idea of capitalism and how it hinders the average person. Second, I discuss how Marx argues for consciousness, criticism, anti-alienation, and anti-exploitation.
Third, I provide and answer possible counter examples for Marx’s ideas on communism and capitalism. Nov 15, · According to Karl Marx, but using the language of economists—as opposed to sociologists—capitalism is an economic system in which capitalists make all the decisions about the production and distribution of goods.
Marx’s point is that the production of commodities is a social process, dependent on exploitation and giving rise to antagonistic relationships among classes, an idea that is not addressed at all in modern economics. Summary, Volume 1: Parts II –V Capital, Surplus Value, and Exploitation.
Marx differentiates ordinary money from capital. According to Karl Marx, capitalism will inevitably turn to socialism.
This alludes to his belief that capitalism contains within itself conditions that would be detrimental to its own existence, factors which would eventually lead to the population to adopt a socialist mode of living. In fact, Marx. Karl Marx’s Ideas and Errors About Capitalism and Markets, Part One by Richard M.
Ebeling | 12 Jun One of the most common phrases to be heard from those on “the left” is the assertion that someone or some public policy is or .