Commodity Fetishism

A characteristic of capitalist economies is that goods are bought and sold. A commodity is a marketable good or material that can satisfy human needs. It can be a raw good, such as gold, grain, or diamonds, or a finished good, such as shoes, bread, or heating oil. The term fetish arose in 19th-century anthropological discourse about religious cultures that attach intense feelings and desires to specific inanimate objects they believe have great power.

German economist and philosopher Karl Marx saw a relationship between these ideas. In the classic work Capital (1867), Marx analyzed capitalist society and the connection between forms of production and corresponding sociopolitical forms to understand the underpinnings of this economic system. Marx argued that a mystical, magical quality is derived from some ...

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