Charles chirrups:

>Is it a commodity only in the instant when it is changing hands or is 
> >there some special time frame in which it is a commodity ?

There's some relatively interesting guff on this in relation to sacred 
objects and objects used for exchange in traditional societies. In the 
former examples, objects that had a purely religious usage in their 
societies say a 'festish-statue' (or in pc talk a Power-Object) is removed 
from that society and offered for sale as a collector's curio.  Here it 
becomes a commodity. Similarly objects originally produced as commodities 
can be removed from that situation and enter a more symbolic realm say as 
museum items to which it would be _almost_ unthinkable that they re-enter 
the exchange system.
HAnd all items can enter exchange or be removed from it by either their 
consumption, decay or redundancy (loss of use-value) or the arrival of a 
newly found exchange value where previously useless tat suddenly commands a 
high market value.
Their commoditiness is in the combination of the two values, which as 
Baudrillard merrily points out can only be defined at our peril- the 
usefulness of an object is in its sociality as much as its materiality and 
thus exchange's sociality is invaded by the arbitrary nature of use. As I've 
pointed out before, to Chris' amusement and agreement, for Marx, needs 
spring from the fancy as much as the stomach and the usefulness of a 
commodity is its ability to satisfy either need.
But all this is by the by and such Shandy-headed digressions get us no 
This commoditiness is social, it is not in the object itself. It extends 
only so long as the object is _available_ for exchange.
Robinsonades are always useful here: when a buccaneer steals some treasure 
it is still a commodity, but when he buries his treasure it ceases to be 
one. When Crusoe digs it up it does not become a commodity. Only when Crusoe 
returns with his new found booty to a system of commodity exchange does it 
become once more a commodity.

And it's the same with factories I guess. But I wonder whether, from a 
Marxist angle, if this is all an absurdity: can capital _ever_ be truely 

Get Your Private, Free Email at

     --- from list [EMAIL PROTECTED] ---

Reply via email to