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The truth beyond the fetish’s glimmering mirage is the relationship of laborer to product; it is the social account of how that object came to be. In this view every commodity, beneath the mantle of its pricetag, is a hieroglyph ripe for deciphering, a riddle whose solution lies in the story of the worker who made it and the conditions under which it was made.
I believe that there have been repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver markets. There have been fraudulent efforts to persuade and deviously control that price. Based on what I have been told by members of the public, and reviewed in publicly available documents, I believe violations to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) have taken place in silver markets and that any such violation of the law in this regard should be prosecuted.
Once public opinion is convinced that the increase in the quantity of money will continue and never come to an end, and that consequently the prices of all commodities will not cease to rise, everybody becomes eager to buy as much as possible and restrict his cash holdings to minimum size… If the credit expansion is not stopped in time, the boom turns to crack-up boom: the flight into real values begins, and the whole monetary system founders.
One of the cheapest commodities in the world is unfulfilled genius. All of us want to be known as a unique individual, the one who broke out of the pack. So, you offer yourself up as a sacrifice and what you’re afraid of is losing and being thrown back into the pack. One question taunts you. Do you want to have, or do you want to be?
If a marriage is going to work well, it must be on a solid footing, namely money, and of that commodity it is the girl with the smallest dowry who, to my knowledge, consumes the most, to infuriate her husband. All the same, it is only fair that the marriage should pay for past pleasures, since it will scarcely procure any in the future.
What is it about a work of art, even when it is bought and sold in the market, that makes us distinguish it from . . . pure commodities? A work of art is a gift, not a commodity. . . works of art exist simultaneously in two economies, a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift, there is no art.
In raising the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates in the same manner as simple interest does in the accumulation of debt. Our merchants and master manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods, both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits; they are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.
There are the obstacles of your position as an actor, not being a commodity enough to be hired by the big directors for projects that have some kind of integrity, because the successful actors who’ve been in the game for a while want those roles. So there’s more competition, so you have to work harder and be right for it.
The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.
A monopoly granted either to an individual or to a trading company has the same effect as a secret in trade or manufactures. The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly understocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they consist in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate.
The capitalist system is about taking from the Earth and from the other great commodity, labour. What’s happening with this system is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the only way out of it is supposed to be growth. But growth is debt. It’s going to make the situation worse.