The Process of Exchange


Chapter 2 – The Process of Exchange

We cannot understand the commodity without looking at the social relations that lie behind it.

“Commodities are things, and therefore lack the power to resist man” (p. 178)

Commodities can only exchange with one another if their owners relate to one another through the exchange of commodities. Thus exchange presupposes that they “recognise each other as owners of private property”.

The juridical relation ‘mirrors’ the economic relation.

It is only when members of society become independent producers that both commodity exchange and the concept of private property can develop.

Once the process of exchange becomes general commodity owners seek not isolated exchanges, but rather seek to exchange their general product for anything and everything they need.

Exchange becomes a “general social process” (p.180).

Every commodity owners wants his own commodity to be universally acceptable in exchange.

The universal equivalent emerges out of the development of exchange itself, as a particular commodity is fixed upon to serve as universal equivalent.

Money is a commodity which has a value like any other commodity.

It marks the transition from exchange as a discrete relation between private individuals to exchange as an expression of social relations between interdependent individuals.

Thus the fetishism of money corresponds closely to that of commodities.

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