Fetishism of the Commodity


Fetishism of the Commodity
   In his analysis of capitalism in Capital Karl Marx introduces his notion of the fetishism of the commodity. Drawing an analogy with religious fetishes where a power is falsely attributed to an object, Marx argues that in capitalism the commodity is given the appearance of being the natural source of value by the prevailing social relations. Commodities appear to have a natural and intrinsic value rather than being the value of the labor power invested in their manufacture. Marx attributes a similar fetishism to wages, profit and rent, which in capitalism have the appearance of being revenue derived from labor, capital and land respectively, but are in fact derived from different amounts of labor power. Marx sees capitalist social relations as mystifying, as obscuring the true relations between people and things, for example wages conceal exploitation, and overall capitalism appears as natural rather than a historically specific social form.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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