The concept of commodity fetishism by Marx focuses on the quality of a commodity. To most people, the commodity is viewed as just an ordinary thing in the market that is acquired to fulfil our need. The focus of Marx went beyond the literal commodity that we have in our disposal. Taking an example of a chair, in a capitalist economy, we only approach the product. In this case, the soda from the sellers who need making profits from them.
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The social aspect of labour is not considered. For every commodity to be made, labour effort is put in the production process. In this way, people relate, while making this product in terms of their contribution to making the chair. Both mental and physical labour was involved in the production of the chair (Hawkes 2001). However, labour may be either individual or social, depending on the number of individuals involved in the production of the product.
Individual labour changes to social, favouring the point of exchange of the product. For example, in the example of the chair, the person who cut the tree and the person who manufactured the nails used to connect the chair are two different persons. Their labour effort is combined in the point of exchange to form social labour. There is so much that takes place in terms of division of labour before the transfer of a product to the customer (Hawkes 2001).
In the day-to-day lives, the concept of commodity fetishism is in operation in almost all aspects of the exchange. Taking an example of soda commodity, fetishism is well brought across. The only thing we put into focus is the purpose that we are buying the soda, and we attach it to the perceived value the sellers have attached to it. The behaviour of the customer is usually driven by some motives, emotion attachments, and even rationale.
For instance, in the example of the soda, some customers are typically attached to some brands that are commonly known. The loyalty they have is what drives them to acquire a specific brand, not because it is a superior brand, but because they feel attached to it (Rubin 2007). Emotions of passion arise from the use of a particular brand. That leaves them only wanting to use that brand instead of other brands that might even be better. For example, some people rate the taste of a Soda higher if it comes from a producer like Coca Cola. The driving force to these people using this product is the brand name that the product carries.
The concept of commodity fetishism has been incorporated into many aspects of the business. For example, in the advertisement, the qualities of a person are shown to be as a result of using a particular product. The aim of the advertiser is usually to encourage people to use a specific product as it has some benefits that come with it. The concept of commodity fetishism is essential in accessing the market as we learn that the value attached to products is because of the human labour exerted to them. Marx’s aim of establishing the concept was to bring to attention that the function of the market is as a result of the social set up that we live in (Rubin 2007).
List of References
Hawkes, D., 2001. Idols of the marketplace: idolatry and commodity fetishism in English literature, 1580-1680. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rubin, I. 2007., Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value. New Delhi: Aakar Books.