What is the concept of commodity fetishism?
Throughout the twenty-first century, consumerism has grown exponentially in developed societies and us humans have taken advantage of these commodities that are so easily available to us. This behaviour begins to create a culture of commodity fetishism. Karl Marx proposed this critical analysis of the system in which capitalist societies use to run whole economies. Since then, many have researched the idea of commodity fetishism, and how we could recover from this colossal error in societal behaviour and materialism.
Commodity fetishism is a Marxist idea that undermines and fuels the economies of capitalist societies. The idea is that the vast number of products produced and sold, all have power over consumers. As consumption has grown, it has become increasingly easier to dispose of products and re-purchase them after. Effects of disposing products are not seen, and the product can simply be replaced, this method of consumption devalues the commodities we purchase. Consumers of capitalist societies tend to ignore the use-value of a product; this is the need of the consumer that is satisfied by a product. The value-form is the ability the product has to be used in exchange for other commodities. Many disregard the use-value as consumers are unaware of the labour that goes into producing commodities and only look at the product itself. Through this perspective of commodities and their production, it means our society becomes progressively detached from the rest of the world, where we get our commodities from. Geographical knowledge allows us to understand where and who these commodities come from, and the ramifications on their lives. This process is called de-fetishising, which is engaging with the process and people behind products and eliminating the ‘power’ of the commodity.