Conflicting roles of commodities in capitalism
Nature: Commodities have two values under the capitalist system: their real worth as necessities; and their exchange value. Because the profit motivation of the capitalist system artificially creates excess demand for goods which may not be necessities, scarcity of real necessities and glut of highly profitable goods (because they are produced in excess when they are not needed) may result. Therefore the exchange value of necessities may become artificially high. Prestige items of low necessity but which are profitable to produce may also have an artificially high exchange value. This situation is aggravated by the fact that commodities may be bought and sold for speculative profit. In this case, they are rendered out of reach to the mass of people who need them and become the prerogative of the non-productive propertied class. The use of necessities for speculation creates inflation and the economic and social gap between the propertied class and the proletariat increases.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET