The Living Religion of Capital
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This paper discusses how, in the very first chapter of "Capital", Karl Marx appropriates the idea of fetishes from the realm of religious anthropology and unceremoniously deposits it into the realm of economics. It examines how Marx speaks of commodities and of capitalism with blatantly religious terminology in addition to his standard scientific discussion of the situation. It attempts to find a religious explanation for his fetishism of commodities.
From the Paper:"It would not be inappropriate to step back for a moment from the analysis of the religious aspect of fetishism to consider, as G.A. Cohen does in his defense of Marxism, that Marx may not have been proposing that economics were spiritualized, but rather merely using the spiritual as a metaphor for something abstract and yet rational. Cohen suggests that the basic doctrine of commodity fetishism is actually very straightforward. The amount of personal labor necessary to create a thing defines its exchange-value. Things hence have exchange-values. However, they do not have exchange value autonomously, but only in relationship to labor and to markets. Regardless, they seem seem to have autonomous exchange-value. This is an illusion. The illusion of exchange-value as an autonomous power of things makes these objects fetishes because they are assumed to own that power."
Cite this Essay:
The Living Religion of Capital (2004, October 30) Retrieved May 20, 2013, from http://www.academon.com/essay/the-living-religion-of-capital-53495/
"The Living Religion of Capital" 30 October 2004. Web. 20 May. 2013. <http://www.academon.com/essay/the-living-religion-of-capital-53495/>