Writing Out Loud: Capital

Capital is Marx’s three-volume tour de force in which he critiques capitalism and its dependence on the exploitation of labor.  Although many have debunked Marx’s labor theory of value, his thoughts on commodities and exploitation continue to inspire many others. Answer the following questions after completing the reading.

Theme: Networks of Capital


  1. Marx begins with the subject of commodities. What are commodities, according to Marx, and how is their value determined?
  2. What does Marx mean when he refers to labor-power as the amount of labor “socially necessary” to produce a commodity?
  3. In your own words, define commodity fetishism and its relation to labor. Then, pick a popular commodity and describe how it is fetishized today. If possible, paste a link to an advertisement from the web that you think captures your chosen commodity’s most fetishized properties.
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