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Grundrisse Notes

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Grundrisse Money as a Symbol of Alienation in Capitalist Society

The process is 'that the product becomes a commodity, that is, a pure element of exchange'
○ When the product becomes a commodity, and the commodity becomes exchange value, it has a dual existence, natural and exchange value. In other words, its exchange value has a material existence (money) Money is initially conceived as a means of furthering production, but the more producers become dependent upon exchange, the more exchange grows independent of production, and thus becomes a relation alien to the producers. This also means the gap between natural product and exchange value product widens The act of exchange splits into two acts: buying and selling
○ this creates a new relation and class of traders, who buy in order to sell and sell in order to buy
○ their purpose is not to acquire the goods as products, but to retain the exchange values Since production works directly for trade and only indirectly for consumption, it must be affected by the disproportion between trade and exchange for consumption that itself produces

Social Power and the Individual


Prices and exchange are ancient, but the increasing determination of prices by the cost of production, and the influence over exchange over all production relationships is a development of bourgeois society, the society of free competitions Economists say that everyone follows his private interests and that the sum of private interests is the general interest.
○ But this 'private interest' has no link to 'human nature'; it is a social condition manufactured by the relations of production The individual in bourgeois society has two imperatives:
○ to produce a general product; exchange value, money
○ to exercise power over others' activity or social wealth, as the owner of exchange value (money) 'Thus both his power over society and his association with it is carried in his pocket.' This 'social' character of activity and product is alienating: individuals are controlled and subordinated to relations that exist independently of them; personal power has changed into material power In human development: first, relations of personal dependence; second personal independence founded on material dependence; lastly, free individuality, founded on the universal domination of communal and social productivity The fact that individuals transform the product into the form of exchange value shows that:
○ they produce only in and for society
○ that their production is not directly social
○ the individuals are subordinate to social production; even those that manipulate it as their communal capacity

Alienation, Social Relationships and Free Individuality

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