Society as an accumulation of commodities

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This entry was written by Jason Koutoufaris-Malandrinos.
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As “an immense accumulation of commodities” [“eine ungeheure Waarensammlung”]: this is how the wealth of “bourgeois society[1] or, according to a later rewording, of “those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails”, presented itself to [Karl Marx| Marx].[2]

Marx may have borrowed this metaphor from [Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau|Mirabeau père], who had already made a similar observation: “Je vois que la societé n’est qu’un amas d’achats & de ventes, d’échanges & de rapports des droits & des devoirs”.[3]

Nonetheless, there seems to be no reference to Riquetti in the entire Marxian corpus – or, at least, none that I am aware of.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, in Karl Marx-Frederick Engels Collected Works [henceforth: MECW], vol. 29, International Publishers, New York, 1975-2004, p. 269 = Karl Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, in Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe [henceforth: MEGA], vol. II/2, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1975-, p. 107.
  2. Karl Marx, Capital. A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I, in MECW, vol. 35, International Publishers, New York, 1975-2004, p. 45 = Karl Marx, Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Erster Band, in MEGA, vol. II/5, p. 17 (the phrase is repeated in the subsequent editions, see MEGA: vol. II/6, p. 69 [1872]; vol. II/8, p. 63 [1883]; vol. II/10, p. 37 [1890]).
  3. L.D.H. [presumably L’Ami des Hommes, pseudonym of Victor Riquetti de Mirabeau], La Science, ou Les Droits et les Devoirs de l’Homme, François Grasset & Co, Lausanne, 1774, p. 76.