consumption. They constitute the material content of wealth, whatever its social form may be. In the form of society to be considered here they are also the material bearers [Triiger] of … exchange-value.

This common element exchange value cannot be a geometrical, physical, chemical or other natural property of commodities.

But clearly, the exchange relation of commodities is characterized precisely by its abstraction from their use-values.

If then we disregard the use-value of commodities, only one property remains, that of being products of labour.

If we make abstraction from its use-value, we abstract also from the material constituents and forms which make it a use-value. It is no longer a table, a house, a piece of yam or any other useful thing.

With the disappearance of the useful character of the products of labour, the useful character of the kinds of labour embodied in them also ~sappears; this in tum entails the disappearance of the different toncrete forms of labour.

etc. This is their plain, homely, natural form. However, they are only commodities because they have a dual nature, because they are at the same time objects of utility and bearers of value. Therefore they only appear as commodities, or have the form of commodities, in so far as they possess a double form, i.e. natural form and value form


thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness. 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 if it were to begin dancing of its own free will. 21

The mysterious character of the commodity-form consists therefore simply in the fact that the commodity reflects the social characteristics of men’s own labour as objective characteristics of the products of labour themselves,

religion. There the products of the human brain appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own, which enter into relations both with each other and with the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s hands. I call this the fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labour as soon as they are produced as commodities, and is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities.

formulas, which bear the unmistakable stamp of belonging to a social formation in which the process of production has mastery over man, instead of the opposite, appear to the political economists’ bourgeois consciousness to be as much a self-evident and nature-imposed necessity as productive labour itself.

values. When they thus assume the shape of values, commodities strip off every trace of their natural and original use-value, and of the particular kind of useful labour to which they owe their creation, in order to pupate into the homogeneous social materialization of undifferentiated human labour.

crisis. There is an antithesis, immanent in the commodity, between use-value and value, between private labour which must simultaneously manifest itself as directly social labour, and a particular concrete kind of labour which simultaneously counts as merely abstract universal labour, between the conversion of things into persons and the conversion of persons into things*; the antithetical phases of the metamorphosis of the commodity are the developed forms of motion of this immanent contradiction.

As against this, the circulation of money as capital is an end in itself, for the valorization of value takes place only within this constantly renewed movement.


manufacture [Manufaktur] can hardly be distinguished, in its earliest stages, from the handicraft trades [Handwerksindustrie] of the guilds, except by the greater number of workers simultaneously employed by the same individual capital.

When consumed in common, they give up a smaller part of their value to each single product; partly because the total value they part with is spread over a greater number of products, and partly because their value, although it is greater in absolute terms, is relatively Jess, looked at from the point of view of their sphere of action, than the value of separate means of production.

Just as the offensive power of a squadron of cavalry, or the defensive power of an infantry regiment, is essentially different from the sum of the offensive or defensive powers of the individual soldiers taken separately, so the sum total of the mechanical forces exerted by isolated workers differs from the social force that is developed when many hands co-operate in the same undivided operation, such as raising a heavy weight, turning a winch or getting an obstacle out of the way. 4 In such cases the effect of the combined labour could either not be produced at all by isolated individual labour, or it could be produced only by a great expenditure of time, or on a very dwarf-like scale. Not only do we have here an increase in the productive power of the individual, by means of co-operation, but the creation of a new productive power, which is intrinsically a collective one. 5

If the labour process is complicated, then the sheer number of the co-operators permits the apportionment of various operations to different hands, and consequently their simultaneous performance. The time necessary for the completion of the whole work is thereby shortened. 9

Whether the combined working day, in a given case, acquires this increased productivity because it heightens the mechanical force of labour, or extends its sphere of action over a greater space, or contracts the field of production relatively to the scale of production, or at the critical moment sets large masses of labour to work, or excites rivalry between individuals and raises their animal spirits, or impresses on the similar operations carried on by a number of men the stamp of continuity and manysidedness, or performs different operations simultaneously, or economizes the means of production by use in common, or lends to individual labour the character of average social labour - whichever of these is the cause of the increase, the special productive power of the combined working day is, under all circumstances, the social productive power of labour, or the productive power of social labour. This power arises from co-operation itself. When the worker co-operates in a planned way with others, he strips off the fetters of his his individuality, and develops the capabilities of his species.13 As a general rule, workers cannot co-operate without being brought together: their assembly in one place is a necessary condition for their co-operation. Hence wage-labourers cannot cooperate unless they are employed simultaneously by the same capital, the same capitalist, and therefore unless their labourpowers are bought simultaneously by him.

Hence, concentration of large masses of the means of production in the hands of individual capitalists is a material condition for the co-operation of wage-labourers, and the extent of co-operation, or the scale of production, depends on the extent of this concentration.

production. That a capitalist should command in the field of production is now as indispensable as that a general should command on the field of battle.

As the number of the co-operating workers increases, so too does their resistance to the domination of capital, and, necessarily, the pressure put on by capital to overcome this resistance.

wage-labourer. An industrial army of workers under the command of a capitalist requires, like a real army, officers (managers) and N.C.O.s (foremen, overseers), who command during the labour process in the name of capital.

process.17 It is not because he is a leader of industry that a man is a capitalist; on the contrary, he is a leader of industry because he is a capitalist.

He pays them the value of 100 independent labour-powers, but he does not pay for the combined labour-power of the 100. Being independent of each other, the workers are isolated. They enter into relations with the capitalist, but not with each other.

Just as the social productive power of labour that is developed by co-operation appears to be the productive power of capital, so co-operation itself, contrasted with the process of production carried on by isolated independent workers, or even by small masters, appears to be a specific form of the capitalist process of production.


At this point, then, the quality of the various forms of human activity, their unique and distinct “ends” or values, has effectively been bracketted or suspended by the market system, leaving all these activities free to be ruthlessly reorganized in efficiency terms, as sheer means or instrumentality.

What is unsatisfactory about the Frankfurt School position is not its negative and critical apparatus, but rather the positive value on which the latter depends, namely the valorization of traditional modernist high art as the locus of some genuinely critical and subversive, “autonomous” aesthetic production.

For all these reasons, it seems to me that we must rethink the opposition high culture/mass culture in such a way that the emphasis on evaluation to which it has traditionally given rise, and which-however the binary system of value operates (mass culture is popular and thus more authentic than high culture, high culture is autonomous and therefore utterly incomparable to a degraded mass culture)-tends to function in some timeless realm of absolute aesthetic judgment, is replaced by a genuinely historical and dialectical approach to these phenomena. S

Indeed, this view of the emergence of mass culture obliges us historically to respecify the nature of the “high culture” to which it has conventionally been opposed: the older culture critics indeed tended loosely to raise comparative issues about the “popular culture” of the past.

The above reflections by no means raise, let alone address, all the most urgent issues which confront an approach to mass culture today. In particular, we have neglected a somewhat different judgment on mass culture, which also loosely derives from the Frankfurt School position on the subject, but whose adherents number “radicals” as well as “elitists” on the Left today. This is the conception of mass culture as sheer manipulation, sheer commercial brainwashing and empty distraction by the multinational corporations who obviously control every feature of the production and distribution of mass culture today. If this were the case, then it is clear that the study of mass culture would at best be assimilated to the anatomy of the techniques of ideological marketing and be subsumed under the analysis of advertising. R

Rather, class struggle, and the slow and intermittent development of genuine class consciousness, are themselves the process whereby a new and organic group constitutes itself, whereby the collective breaks through the reified atomization (Sartre calls it the seriality) of capitalist social life.

material. To rewrite the concept of a management of desire in social terms now allows us to think repression and wish-fulfillment together within the unity of a single mechanism, which gives and takes alike in a kind of psychic compromise or horse-trading, which strategically arouses fantasy content within careful symbolic containment structures which defuse it, gratifying intolerable, unrealizable, properly imperishable desires only to the degree to which they can again be laid to rest. This model seems to me to permit a far more adequate account of the mechanisms of manipulation, diversion, degradation, which are undeniably at work in mass culture and in the media. In particular it allows us to grasp mass culture not as empty distraction or “mere” false consciousness, but rather as a transformational work on social and political anxieties and fantasies which must then have some effective presence in the mass cultural text in order subsequently to be “managed” or repressed.

Now the content of the partnership between Hooper and Brody projected by the film may be specified socially and politically, as the allegory of an alliance between the forces of law-and-order and the new technocracy of the multinational corporations: an alliance which must be cemented, not merely by its fantasized triumph over the ill-defined menace of the shark itself, but above all by the indispensable precondition of the effacement of that more traditional image of an older America which must be eliminated from historical consciousness and social memory before the new power system takes its place. T

This is the context in which the ideological function of the myth of the Mafia can be understood, as the substitution of crime for big business, as the strategic displacement of all the rage generated by the American system onto this mirror-image of big business provided by the movie screen and the various tv series, it being understood that the fascination with the Mafia remains ideological even if in reality organized crime has exactly the importance and influence in American life which such representations attribute to it. T


? If the transition to mature industrial society entailed a severe restructuring of working habits—new disciplines, new incentives, and a new human nature upon which these incentives could bite effectively—how far is this related to changes in the inward notation of time?

In a similar way labour from dawn to dusk can appear to be “natural” in a farming community, especially in the harvest mo

Clearly hunters must employ certain hours of the night to set their snares. Fishing and seafaring people must integrate their lives with the tides.

Let us return from the timepiece to the task. Attention to time in labour depends in large degree upon the need for the synchronization of labour

The work pattern was one of alternate bouts of intense labour and. of idleness, wherever men were in control of their own working lives (The pattern persists among some self-employed—artists, writers, small farmers, and perhaps also with students—today, and provokes the question whether it is not

imposition. This remains true to this day, and, despite school times and television times, the rhythms of women’s work in the home are not wholly attuned to the measurement of the clock.

We are entering here, already in 1700, the familiar landscape of disciplined industrial capitalism, with the time-sheet, the timekeeper, the informers and the finest

Powell, in 1772, also saw education as a training in the “habit of industry”; by the time the child reached six or seven it should become “habituated, not to say naturalized to Labour and Fati

In all these ways - by the division of labour; the supervision of labour; fines; bells and clocks; money incentives; preachings and schoolings; the suppression of fairs and sports—.new labour habits were formed, and a new time-discipline was imposed.) It sometimes took several generations (as in the Potteries), and we may doubt how far it was ever fully accomplished: irregular labour rhythms were perpetuated (and even institutionalized) into the present century, notably in London and in the great ports.114