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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:43 PM

Commodity fetishism and Apple.

A layman's explanation.


Technology is a good example of commodity fetishism and alienation; one widely known example of this idea is Apple products. Things like iPad, iPhones, and MacBooks have such a cult following that they drive people to be infatuated with the products. Evidence of this commodity fetishism with Apple products can be seen in the social affects that these commodities have on society. For example, when a new Apple product is released to the market, it has become socially acceptable for people to form extensive lines outside of Apple stores hours in advance in order to be one of the first to own the latest technology.

This social preoccupation of owning the latest forms of technology cause the commodities to discredit its use value and the wage-labor behind the production of a single object. People tend to forget about the labor needed to create the commodity and insist on focusing on its exchange value and social affect. The popular demand of such a product, like iPhones, cause the need for more production of the commodity and leads to worker’s alienation. This alienation is not visible to society because consumers narrow their attention to the object and not the mode of production behind it.

Commodity fetishism causes a social relation between the capitalist and his workers. The combination of social relation and the fetishism with the commodity leads and deepens the alienation felt by the workers. For example, Foxconn workers, the corporation that produces Apple products, face all four types of alienation described by Marx. Since these workers are mistreated, they face alienation from the process of work because they are force to work long hours for a minimal wage. Also, Foxconn workers face alienation from product of work since they don't take ownership in the commodities they produce. Most importantly, Foxconn workers experience alienation from others and species-being. The workers are not able to voice their opinions in the workplace and are forced to work long hours each day that they don't receive much personal leisure time.

One specific case of the Foxconn worker’s alienation is Ma Xiangqian, a nineteen-year-old worker who committed suicide from being miserable at his workplace. According to Barboza’s article, Ma’s paystub showed that he has worked 286 hours the month before he died (Barboza, 2010). Following the death of Ma, there was even more reports on suicides and suicide attempts from Foxconn employees. This social issue of alienation is extremely visible in Foxconn employees, but its safe to say that all wageworkers experience one or multiple forms of alienation from their work to some degree. The workers’ alienation is not presented to consumers when they are waiting in line for the latest phone or computers. Because of commodity fetishism, consumers only care for the product and not the value and the labor put behind each product by a wageworker, making the consumer blind to alienation.

From: http://uicsocialtheory.weebly.com/marx/gonzalez-commodity-fetishism-andalienation

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Reply Commodity fetishism and Apple. (Original post)
yallerdawg Sep 2017 OP
delisen Sep 2017 #1
yallerdawg Sep 2017 #2
guillaumeb Sep 2017 #3

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:15 PM

1. We have met the enemy and it is us.

So much irony.

Love "The Worker" in the abstract but blind to the "workers" in reality.

I am sure there is a solution somewhere, some how.....

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Response to delisen (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:23 PM

2. Apple is a celebration of pure, unadulterated capitalism and exploitation.

It IS the most profitable corporation in America.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 06:06 PM

3. Recommended.

And we must also remember the role that advertising plays in creating a perceived need that can only be filled by upgrading to the very latest device.

My only telephone is attached to a cord on the wall.

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