A contemporary product’s path from material form, through human labor, to commodity, and ultimately to fetish
According to Marx theory of commodity, a commodity assumes the character of the product of the labor. He argued that quality human labor is expressed objectively in a commodity and the measure of expenditure, duration of expenditure, and labor power takes the value of the product. Because of the connection between the eye and the product of a person’s work, the fantastic form attaches itself on the product creating Fetishism. For example, agricultural products are examples of commodities whose value is related to the value attached on the product. When a farmer plants a vegetable, he will take into account the value of labor that he uses all through its growth and account it to the final value of the product. Expenditure in terms of chemicals and cost of harvesting also directly influence the cost of the product. Therefore, if a farmer has invested a lot of work and inputs into his patch of vegetables, the vegetables will look desirable, and customers will opt for his product instead of the less desirable looking vegetables, therefore, creating a fetish.
How does the concept of separation of goods, labor, and value enter both readings
Klein (2009) argues that successful corporations today do not use their resources in expanding factories and maintaining machines that will be written off, but instead choose to invest in building their brands that will increase the distribution channels to their customers. The last decade of the 20th century marked the beginning of an era where corporations closed down factories in Europe and the United States to outsource their production activity to developing countries in Asia and the middle east. The separation of goods, labor, and value as described by Klein saw factories benefiting from very inexpensive goods that ensured over 400% in markup instead of the traditional 100%. This contradicted the Marxist critique of capitalism that connected a commodity to the amount of labor invested to develop it.
Klein, Naomi. No Logo. Design Studies: A reader/ edited by Hazel Clerk and David Broody, 2009. New York, NY: Berg.
Chapter 1. The fetishism of commodities and the secret thereof.