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Karl Marx"capitalism"

Since man now produces involuntarily, and does so in the stressful division-of-labor context of modern manufacturing, he is "estranged from his human nature [and] labour is alienated labour" (Tucker, xxv).

In explaining the development of the capitalist mode of production, Marx sees each step in the historical process as one that will only take place when the other essential conditions are satisfied. Beginning from the proposition that man is, by nature, a producer he demonstrates that the production of commodities, "object[s] that satisf[y] some human want," constitutes a system of social relations and this system is intrinsic to the form of each society (303). Once commodities are exchanged, however, they are deprived of their use value and assume exchange-value (or, simply, value) alone. The only property commodities for exchange share is that of being the products of "human labour in the abstract" and their value is determined by the amount of labor that has gone into their production (305).

The transformation of products with use-value into commodities can only take place when the products are not produced for the producer's subsistence, it can only occur "with production of a very specific kind, capitalist production" (338). Products only become commodities when their use-value is separated from exchange value--but this can begin with the initiation of a relatively simple system of barter. The emergence of money in societies is a clear indication of a further stage in the exchange of commodities. In general, however, the functions of money "which it performs either as the mere equivalent of commodities, or as means of circulation, or means of payment, as hoard or as universal money, point," depending on which of these functions predominates, to distinct stages of social production (339). In each of these cases, the same social relations of production can also be produced by the simple circulation of commodities alon...

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Karl Marx"capitalism". (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:13, February 26, 2017, from
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