Mike Rowe on Labor and Commodity Fetishism

Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” gives this testimony before the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on the need for skilled labor training and, though he doesn’t use fancy Marxian language, commodity fetishism.

Commodity Fetishism: This is one of Marx’s most famous concepts and refers to the total lack of consideration consumers in a capitalist economy have for the people who make things. Prices serve as substitutes for real descriptions of what went into making a commodity. Prices are the only means of comparison of commodities and make it impossible to know how your consumption changes your world and the lives of others. The word fetishism is used in the religious sense, where an object like a relic (or commodity) is thought to have power over events and actions of humans when in fact the power to shape these events has always been in the hands of humans themselves. Prices represent and conceal social relations, but do not replace them.


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