From our class discussion we came up with the idea that as a culture, we are endowing value to commodities and thus are willing to pay more for something because of our emotional investment.  As seen in Michael Storper’s “Lived Effects of the Contemporary Economy,” while consumerism has always been around, it has become noticeably pervasive in the United States starting from the 70s.  As consuming became more of a ritual rather than something that was done out of necessity, people started to create identities through the way and things they consumed.  As Storper puts it, “it would be a mistake to hold that consumption is simply ‘pushed’ on people, that they are duped into it by powerful institutional forces such as advertising…however it begins, ultimately sustains itself by becoming an intimate part of the action frameworks of individuals…(Storper 105).” However, as consuming becomes an intimate part of our lifestyles, I do believe, like Marx, that advertising is used as a tool to perpetrate commodity fetishisms. 

 

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    Nowadays, with the help of marketing and advertising, the use-value is way overshadowed by the exchange value of commodities.  It is a matter of how desperate we are to possess a certain product more for its emotional fulfillment than a functional one.  Often times, people who don’t have the economic freedom to consume a certain product will go far enough to use their last paycheck to have those one pair of shoes or earrings or whatever it may be.  This being the reality, it is clearly evident that the exchange value for commodities has far exceeded the use-value. This phenomenon would have been nonexistent if not for marketing and keen research on consumer culture.  Products are advertised in a way that makes a potential consumer believe that they must have that product.  A marketer’s job is to position their product at the highest level in a consumer’s brain, even if that means higher costs.  Apple is a good example of a company that markets their products in a way that makes them most desirable, even if it serves the same function as products of Motorola or Samsung.  From the gecko, Steve Jobs positioned Apple products at a higher price than its competitors and this strategy worked.  Society purchased Apple products at an exponential rate because it seemed the most superior of all phones, laptops, tablets, etc.  Now, having an Apple product suddenly placed you in a certain social class that other products couldn’t have.  So now, even if the Android can perform the exact same functions as the iPhone, people still consumed the Apple product because of the impact of how these products were marketed.  This is where the exchange value dominates the use-value.  As we discussed in class, we fetishize the price rather than the object and intangible aspects are slowly transforming into practical and functional reasons to consume. 

 

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