Using a ‘materialist’ lens, Marx contends that social relations of fabrication are veiled by the manifestation of commodities in capitalist societies. Commodities are the mainstay of capitalist societies, a peripheral object, or a ‘something’ through its assets gratifies human desires and is then exchanged for something else. Fetishism ascribes itself to the merchandises of labour as they are fabricated as commodities, and is consequently inextricable from the manufacturing of commodities. Through Marx’s analytical approach to commodities, he places emphasis on the concern for the physical chattels of the commodity, which is meticulously concomitant to use-value. Use value is complexly entwined to the physical belongings of a commodity, the material used to manufacture the commodity which satisfies human needs.
In society, use-value predominates and is not a question of people exchanging things of use, and in terms of profit. The predomination assumes that there’s a different way of constructing reality. In historical terms, peasants gain subsistence of the land rather than through wage labour, and to the extent some are engaged in wage labour, wage labour is not the organizing principle of the world as it supplements subsistence. Use-value, however, does not lead to a commodity. “He who satisfies his own need with the product of his own labour admittedly creates use-values, but not commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only produce use-values, but use use-values for others, social use-values.” (131). An example of this is a peasant that creates a corn-rent for the primitive lord and a corn-tithe for the priest; but neither the corn rent or the corn-tithe converted into commodities by being produced for others.
In order for it to develop into a commodity, the article must be conveyed to the other person, for whom is serves as a use-value, through the medium of exchange (131). In the exchange of goods on the capitalist market, exchange-value dominates. Two commodities can be exchanged on the open market because they are being compared to a third item that functions as their “universal equivalent”, which in capitalism is eventually taken over by money, first by precious metals then by paper money.
The universal equivalent is an article by which each commodity is equated and traded on the market. Use-value and exchange value are eminent from one another because exchange interactions amongst commodities are characterized by its generalisations from their use-values, use-values differ in quality, exchange values differ in quantity (127). In a capitalist society, money takes the form the correspondence, which leads to the shadowing of the real equivalence behind it’s exchange, which is labor. The supplementary amount of labor it requires to produce the product, the more valuable the product is.
Marx argues that as exchange values, all commodities are purely fixed magnitudes of firm labour-time (130). The relation of labour-power to the actual labor of the individual is corresponding the relation of exchange-value to use-value. Labor depends on the principle that the laborer selects liberally to enter into a votive relationship with an employer, who buys the personnel’s labor power as a commodity and then possesses the properties manufactured by the worker. The capitalist owns all the means of production. Commodities would then pose a double form of value: natural form and value form.
The commodity is made of material provided by nature in order to create the product, and the labor used to create it. Marx contends that social relations of fabrication are veiled by the manifestation of commodities in capitalist societies. People within capitalist societies consider commodities as if the entity occupies inherent worth, rather than considering value as the amount of real labour used to manufacture the entity.
The world can then be pronounced as though market exchange transpires autonomously of human exchange.