Cappos are nervous

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Thu Dec 16 14:11:15 MST 1999

Charles writes:
> Sounds like some spectacular operation of the fetishism of commodities;
>the >thing is like a subject and the people are like objects.

Yes, it does.  That's why I put quote marks around intelligent.

But seriously, it always amazes me how present day ideologues of the market
imbue it with human characteristics, making it the active subject, while
humans become the object.

Here, when CEOs of companies get $1.3 million salary packages and workers
in the same firm get laid or wage freezes, or tiny rises, some ideologue
will come on TV and say this is determined by the market.  The market has
set these pay scales and so on.  You would think these companies didn't
have boards of directors that vote for and impose these measures.

The grim thing is that this fetishism has come to be widely accepted.  Many
ordinary people believe the market is omnipotent (and presumably, sentient).

Without belabouring past points I've made about academics here at
Canterbury, a few weeks back I was having tea with my superviser - who's
one of the two professors in the dept (in NZ professor is the top academic
status) - and around the table we were sitting people were talknig abut the
health sector.  Anyway, he - and he's a nice, liberal/progressive type -
started saying how maybe it was time to look at whether 'we' should really
be keeping people alive past a certain age in hospitals and not spending
those funds to provide for other areas of health.  When I said I couldn't
see any reason why 'we' shouldn't do both, he was quite stunned.  He just
assumed there is finite resources for health, rather than thinking that
actually if we organised society in a different way there would be no need
to make such choices.

ON a couple of ocassions Inhave tried to explain commodity
fetishism/ideology to academics here - not because I was trying to win them
over, but because I had to explain stuff about my thesis and its validity -
and it is like trying to explain thermodynamics or space travel to a
medieval peasant.

Philip Ferguson

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