Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chocolate, iPhone, and Commodity Fetishism

In consumer world, products sell an image of the consumer to others. Electronics can be prestigious if they come from companies like Apple and while chocolate is just better from Ghirardelli compared to those of generic brand. Both these different products are considered the ideal product because of the name and company. Apple's design shows a different, sleek and new devices and creates the idea that consumers can also reach the sleek, luxury of Apple life when owning one.

Apple has created the picture of owning Apple products puts you above others and in a sense "more fancy" in comparison to non-Apple users. They are known throughout the world and the high end product. 

The commodity fetishism is the idea that we impart values on consumer goods that have little or nothing to do with the little parts and the intricate details that it has. People couldn't care less about what goes into making the actual device. The fetishism, is the image the Apple has marketed and sold to those that buy their products, even the name itself. This a quality once a company can obtain is a real marketing agent. 

When you think of Apple and their users they are fancy, hip, new, simplistic and most importantly part of a select group of people once they own something in the Apple family. This is relatable to the fact if someone owns or buys an Audi or BMW for a car, Apple is an easier, more accessible because it isn’t as expensive in comparison.

Chocolate can be looked at the same way because brands like Ghirardelli and Lindor are higher end chocolate companies. The companies have worked to showcase their product as a fancier brand compared to those of others. If you are seen with Ghirardelli, you have better taste compared to those that don't eat it or to those seen with cheaper/generic brands. 

“A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social character of men’s labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour. This is the reason why the products of labour become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses. In the same way the light from an object is perceived by us not as the subjective excitation of our optic nerve, but as the objective form of something outside the eye itself. But, in the act of seeing, there is at all events, an actual passage of light from one thing to another, from the external object to the eye. There is a physical relation between physical things. But it is different with commodities. There, the existence of the things quâcommodities, and the value relation between the products of labour which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. There it is a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labour, so soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities.”

The value we put on a product has as much (if not more) with what the world and community think of the product. Apple makes their money on creating the need that their product is a lifestyle enhancer. Look at the intensity of the product and how people need it right as it is available is a good example. 

Discussion Questions:
In what areas have you noticed a Marxism in different areas on pop culture?
Do you think that it is portrayed the iPhone users are held to a higher class, especially if they have the new products?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Breanna!

    I am not an Apple user and technology doesn't really appeal to me, but someone once explained smart phones in a way that has shaped my whole way of thinking about those products...

    --- an iPhone is like having a chauffer that takes you everywhere you want to go, and an Android is like being the driver and determining your own path.

    Given that, I now don't judge smart phone users as classy as much as I judge the owner's hobbies and personality. iPhone? "Help make my life easier." Android? "Give me what I want when I want it."