commodities

All animals are somebody—someone with a life of their own. Behind those eyes is a story, the story of their life in their world as they experience it. In our culture, we have been encouraged to think of animals as things, as commodities. The great challenge lies in having a change of perception. The realization that they have a life of their own, independent of their utility to me or to anyone else: this is what I am trying to get at when I speak of them as being “subjects of a life.” In this sense, they are exactly like us, equal to us. — Tom Regan

ATTENTION HOUSTON PEEPS

All discussion of bottled water as a commodity aside for the moment, Coca-Cola has straight-up said if you’re in Houston metro and need their product to keep yourself safe, take it. It’s yours. They’re not considering it as looting.

PLEASE, if you choose to use this opportunity, be sure you don’t go alone (in case you run into problems getting in or out–I’d recommend having at least three people) and that you have a vehicle or watercraft stable enough to carry what you’re taking. Take what you need and nothing more, for your own safety traveling and also for others who may come for safe potables.

Remember that floodwaters contain oil runoff, heavy metals, and bodily fluids from cadavers and are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO DRINK. If no water is available, Sprite or Coke will serve you much better than floodwater because it’s clean and sealed. It won’t be quite as hydrating as pure water, but it won’t give you horrific diseases or metal poisoning, either, and should tide you over until you’re able to get to potable water again.

And finally: it’s a literal drop in the bucket, but kudos to Coca-Cola for doing the right thing and prioritizing lives over profit.

One day there was an anonymous present sitting on my doorstep—Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx, in a brown paper bag. A joke? Serious? And who had sent it? I never found out. Late that night, naked in bed, I leafed through it. The beginning was impenetrable, I couldn’t understand it, but when I came to the part about the lives of the workers—the coal miners, the child laborers—I could feel myself suddenly breathing more slowly. How angry he was. Page after page. Then I turned back to an earlier section, and I came to a phrase that I’d heard before, a strange, upsetting, sort of ugly phrase: this was the section on “commodity fetishism,” “the fetishism of commodities.” I wanted to understand that weird-sounding phrase, but I could tell that, to understand it, your whole life would probably have to change. His explanation was very elusive. He used the example that people say, “Twenty yards of linen are worth two pounds.” People say that about every thing that it has a certain value. This is worth that. This coat, this sweater, this cup of coffee: each thing worth some quantity of money, or some number of other things—one coat, worth three sweaters, or so much money—as if that coat, suddenly appearing on the earth, contained somewhere inside itself an amount of value, like an inner soul, as if the coat were a fetish, a physical object that contains a living spirit. But what really determines the value of a coat? The coat’s price comes from its history, the history of all the people involved in making it and selling it and all the particular relationships they had. And if we buy the coat, we, too, form relationships with all those people, and yet we hide those relationships from our own awareness by pretending we live in a world where coats have no history but just fall down from heaven with prices marked inside. “I like this coat,” we say, “It’s not expensive,” as if that were a fact about the coat and not the end of a story about all the people who made it and sold it, “I like the pictures in this magazine.”A naked woman leans over a fence. A man buys a magazine and stares at her picture. The destinies of these two are linked. The man has paid the woman to take off her clothes, to lean over the fence. The photograph contains its history—the moment the woman unbuttoned her shirt, how she felt, what the photographer said. The price of the magazine is a code that describes the relationships between all these people—the woman, the man, the publisher, the photographer—who commanded, who obeyed. The cup of coffee contains the history of the peasants who picked the beans, how some of them fainted in the heat of the sun, some were beaten, some were kicked.For two days I could see the fetishism of commodities everywhere around me. It was a strange feeling. Then on the third day I lost it, it was gone, I couldn’t see it anymore.
— 

Wallace Shawn, The Fever


(To understand it, your whole life would probably have to change.)

A thing can be a use value, without having value. This is the case whenever its utility to man is not due to labour. Such are air, virgin soil, natural meadows, etc. A thing can be useful, and the product of human labour, without being a commodity. Whoever directly satisfies his wants with the produce of his own labour, creates, indeed, use values, but not commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only produce use values, but use values for others, social use values.
—  Marx - Capital Vol 1 Ch.1 1867
I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.
—  Max Lucado

You know, I get it. Being raised as a superstar must be really, really difficult for you. Always a commodity, never a human being, not a single person in your family thinking you’re worth a damn off the court— yeah, sounds rough. Kevin and I talk about your intricate and endless daddy issues all the time. I know it’s not entirely your fault that you are mentally unbalanced and infected with these delusions of grandeur, and I know you’re physically incapable of holding a decent conversation with anyone like every other normal human being can, but I don’t think any of us should have to put up with this much of your bullshit. Pity only gets you so many concessions, and you used yours up about six insults ago. So please, please, just shut the fuck up and leave us alone.

A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties… The form of wood, for instance, is altered, by making a table out of it. Yet, for all that, the table continues to be that common, every-day thing, wood. But, so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than “table-turning” ever was.
— 

Marx - Capital Vol 1 Ch.1 1867

theatlantic.com
The Myth of the Barter Economy
Adam Smith said that quid-pro-quo exchange systems preceded economies based on currency, but there’s no evidence that he was right.
By Ilana E. Strauss

Imagine life before money. Say, you made bread but you needed meat. But what if the town butcher didn’t want your bread? You’d have to find someone who did, trading until you eventually got some meat. You can see how this gets incredibly complicated and inefficient, which is why humans invented money: to make it easier to exchange goods. Right? This historical world of barter sounds quite inconvenient. It also may be completely made up.

The man who arguably founded modern economic theory, the 18th-century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, popularized the idea that barter was a precursor to money. In The Wealth of Nations, he describes an imaginary scenario in which a baker living before the invention of money wanted a butcher’s meat but had nothing the butcher wanted.“No exchange can, in this case, be made between them,” Smith wrote.

This sort of scenario was so undesirable that societies must have created money to facilitate trade, argues Smith. Aristotle had similar ideas, and they’re by now a fixture in just about every introductory economics textbook. “In simple, early economies, people engaged in barter,” reads one. (“The American Indian with a pony to dispose of had to wait until he met another Indian who wanted a pony and at the same time was able and willing to give for it a blanket or other commodity that he himself desired,” read an earlier one.)

But various anthropologists have pointed out that this barter economy has never been witnessed as researchers have traveled to undeveloped parts of the globe. “No example of a barter economy, pure and simple, has ever been described, let alone the emergence from it of money,” wrote the Cambridge anthropology professor Caroline Humphrey in a 1985 paper. “All available ethnography suggests that there never has been such a thing.” Humphrey isn’t alone. Other academics, including the French sociologist Marcel Mauss, and the Cambridge political economist Geoffrey Ingham have long espoused similar arguments.

When barter has appeared, it wasn’t as part of a purely barter economy, and money didn’t emerge from it—rather, it emerged from money. After Rome fell, for instance, Europeans used barter as a substitute for the Roman currency people had gotten used to. “In most of the cases we know about, [barter] takes place between people who are familiar with the use of money, but for one reason or another, don’t have a lot of it around,” explains David Graeber, an anthropology professor at the London School of Economics.

So if barter never existed, what did? Anthropologists describe a wide variety of methods of exchange—none of which are of the “two-cows-for-10-bushels-of-wheat” variety.

Hey liberals im the communist your highschool warned you about here to tell you some scary things us evil reds want for society:

-Affordable housing for all.
-Universal Sex Ed.
-Protection of marginalized peoples.
-Decriminalizing victimless crimes (like drug use and possession, sex work, homelessness, etc)
-Free healthcare and education.
-Community organizing and urban planning.
-Rationing surplus so we’re not dumping out foods and resources while others go hungry.
-Full legal and social recognition of oppressed peoples.
-An economy focused on the use of a commodity rather than how much money you can make out of it.
-Suppression of those who want to exploit, demean, or harm others on the basis of their skin color, culture, religion, gender, sexuality, or disability.
- The people to have greater participation in politics.
- Worker’s rights.
- The private wealth of society’s rich to be expropriated and redistributed to the people.
- And more!

~🚩Another world is possible🚩~