[OPE-L:2896] Re: money fetishism

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 20:04:31 EDT

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Claus and others,
Just to clarify: I am trying to understand myself what exactly were
the "metaphysical subtleties" and "theological niceties" to which Marx is
referring in his analysis of the commodity fetishism, which is most
dazzling in the money form.

That in order for the organization and distribution of social labor upon
which society relies to be achieved, the production of commodities by
private enterprises by means of wage labor must be regulated by an imagined
inherent property of value which moreover can only be expressed in terms of
an exchange ratio with a single rather ordinary use value that is believed
to itself incarnate universal human labor: this practice Marx took to be
fetishistic, nonsensical and absurd. Yet money driven behavior, though
dependent on such metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties, was
understood by the political economists to be the height of rationality.

 It seems to me that Marx is approaching money driven behavior in the same
way that structural anthropologists investigate religious ritual--for
example, Edmund Leach in Culture and Communication. Unfortunately I don't
have my books with me, including Capital itself.
Yours, Rakesh

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