The Dirty Roots of Capitalism
Marx’s description of the origins of capitalism is a systematic process of alienation of the worker from the means of production, preventing you from consuming what you produce without the interface of the market.
This is a process that is ever expanding, reaching into new markets and colonies and offshoring. A look at the process of capitalism readying these new areas for exploitation quickly makes it clear that capitalism is not a natural form. At least not natural in the sense that people would choose it if they had other options.
But then force has never been far beneath the surface of any society.
In its earliest form, exchange of goods does not produce an increase in value.
Both of the people in the exchange can come away with a benefit, because they have achieved an increase in use values, by exchanging, they have ended up with qualitatively different things.
But under capitalism, transactions start and end in money, and money is qualitatively the same, so needs to be differentiated by quantity.
But if standard exchange does not produce an increase in quantity, something must be added to a commodity in between purchase and sale, something that can create surplus value, something called labour.
Money is the Only Commodity
When you listen to an introduction that says nearly everyone who gave up Capital gave up in Chapter 3 and Chapter 3 is the current topic, it doesn’t bode well, but here goes.
In the last lesson, we ended with money as the matrix, the concealing form that disguised the underlying labour and moved us away from the reality of production.
In this chapter, things go even deeper, and money is not only something that moves us away from the producers, but, as it takes on new roles, money is no longer a helper in the exchange of commodities, it is the only commodity.