52 thoughts on “Law of Value 2: The Fetishism of Commodities

  1. I really appreciate your effort – it means a lot for people who still lazy to read much, like me 🙂

  2. @tuberesponder

    "Also, we don't have money, we have "Legal Tender" (a money SUBSTITUTE)"

    Semantics. Legal tender still functions as capital and a form of exchange for goods.

    "The values of the sweater are, warmth, comfort, fit, style, sentiment, texture, and a multitude of innumerable other 'QUALITIES'."

    That's the use-value of a commodity, and when you're talking about "price" or monetary exchange, that is the exchange value of a commodity. What Brendan is talking about here is labor value

  3. Cont'd:

    ..which ultimately is what gives these very attributes themselves. Without the product of human labor, the use-value and exchange value of the sweater ceases to exist as these are the products of human hands. Please do not confuse the three.

    Also, Marx's labor value theory centers around labor exploitation of capitalists and has nothing to do with what you are saying. I think when we talk about Marxism in mind, we must stick with what the theory is all about and not get side-tracked.

  4. This all seems rather hair-brained and weird… Price is where supply meets demand… it reflects what people are willing to pay, and yes people do think of objects as imbued with value, but i think they always have. When I am cold, a sweater is valuable, when I am hot an air conditioner is etc. Whether I am a capitalist or living in agrarian society I will think this. Precisely what's wrong with this valuation of goods. I don't think this necessarily bleeds into social relationships.

  5. @jsymons1985 You're over exagerating the "use-value" of the commodity. Wal-Mart will let a loaf of bread sit on the shelf and turn to dust before they let you have it w/o $. Commodities are for those that can afford them, not for those who need or can use them. They're created only to make their owners wealthy, period. If someone else happens to benefit along the way, thats an unintended consequence.

  6. I would just like to thank you for these wonderful video's… Critical thinking is nearing extinction in modern society. It is comforting to see that there are at least some individuals out there that still posses it.

  7. A big Thanks for these videos, we're reading The Marx-Engels Reader in one of my courses. These videos help "translate" Marx's very technical writing. (Also, I'm a visual learner these images will help me reference things later in my mind) THANKS!

  8. Actually if you look at it closely, there is not much difference between for example Christianity and Communism in their respective theories (in practice perhaps there are). In Marxist theory however Capitalism itself is a form of religion and in that sense you cannot be religious. Hope that explains it 🙂

  9. he doesnt. he sees the social relationships between people as more profound than simply relationships between commodities. therefore capital production limit people and alienates them from their full potential to flourish as human beings by reducing them to a part of a production process over which they have no control

  10. marx's views on religion are more linked to his views on alienation than on commodities although they are somewhat linked. he saw religion as a response to and a reflection of the alienation people feel in exploitative systems such as capitalism. i think he would never advocate banning religion but would probably say it is likely to naturally fade away when alienation does. again, this is not to say that religion is incompatible with communism, just that it probably wouldnt exist

  11. A nice explanation. Unfortunately, completely unusable in my class due to the unnecessary and misleading sexual imagery. Marx was not thinking of sexual fetishism in his writing, as you are aware. Adding the sex is therefore misleading, something I could explain to the class, but the imagery is sufficiently explicit as to make it unshowable in a classroom setting. Very unfortunate.

  12. Thanks for the (very quick) reply. Actually, I would love it if you could find that other version without the spanking clip. You do explain things very well, and the time you put into making a good video is apparent. It's truly just the one clip… Post a note here if you're able to find it – and thank you!

  13. you are so focused on the explanation of commodity and the importance of exchange value and use value of commodity, I feel like you barely touch on commodity fetishism. I'm still confused with what commodity fetishism is about, can you explain more?

  14. Thank you, that really clarifies things up. There's so much information in your vid, so it was a lil overwhelming. Thanks though 🙂 The video is pretty awesome.

  15. Does this explain why people in this society are willing to trample another human being  just to get that TV for $5 off on black Friday? People develop emotional relationships with commodities instead of relationships with other humans.

  16. dog whistle at 4:39.

    Also, I would recommend David Graebers Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value to all those interested in value theory.

  17. "The pursuit of money as an end in itself occupies many people's lives and is a driving force of economic growth"
    Name one person that pursues money "as an end in itself". In fact very few people do this, almost everyone pursues it as a means to an end.

    Marx didn't need to construct a theory of "fetishism" to explain why people wanted money. They want money because what they really want is things other people have, that they will exchange for money. it's not that hard to understand. We want to trade because autarkic production is not the best way to achieve our goals. We have settled on one set of objects as the main means of trade because it's convenient (or at least it was). Marx as usual is staring straight past the obvious and true to the complex and false.

  18. Yeah the reason that people don't "directly relate" to the entire economy is that that's a stupid idea that would take a massive amount of time. If I and everyone else had to describe my preferences to producers in enough detail for them to determine what to produce literally nothing else would get done. Literally. So yes, the relationship is indirect, so what? Why does anyone need to look in the face of those who want their product, or those who make it? Why should I care about the dairyman beyond whether he produces good milk at a decent price? You might argue "because he's a human being and deserves your care and concern" but he deserves it no more than others who don't trade with me at all.

    The value of the object IS the result of it's properties and the value put on those property. We don't care about what was done to produce the object, beyond moral concerns about say, slave labor. Value doesn't come from social relations because no social relation actually does what the commodity does.

  19. It seems that most people grasp to understand that fetishism for Marx is not about desire or greed, but about the disconnection between how we perceive reality under capitalism and the true relations on the production process.

    Anyway, nice series, I'm really enjoying it! Cheers from Brazil.

  20. Are the toy soldiers in the intro supposed to represent things that have become autonomous? if so its a nice touch

  21. Is there a way to unite all Marxist debaters online on various platforms – specially those which have more outreach?

    The predominant economics religion needs to be challenged en masse.

  22. I have to be honest with you and say this stuff goes waaaaayyyy over my head and I'm sure you've already dumbed it down enough

  23. extremely helpful and clear, I remember one of my teachers defining commodity fetishism as "The object hides the social relations of exploitation the produced it" but here I see more clearly what the fetish is also is that the object fools us into thinking that it has value in itself , but in reality its value depends on the socially necessary labor time it took to produce it. Value then is not a quality of the thing at all.

  24. Money is a medium of exchange serving as an intermediary so as to easily exchange some thing they value less for that they value more. Marxism is utterly ridiculous as economics, holding that labor is valuable in and of itself, whether it creates anything anyone wants or not.

  25. 1:49 I had such a horrid day today, but that comment absolutely reversed everything that was so bad about it!

  26. When the US decided to put everything on the credit card and develop a debt soaked consumer society in order to fund militarism they went beyond Capitalism and the means of production.

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