Karl Marx said that capitalism commodifies everything. So I'm wondering if that rule applies to the very State itself.


1 Answer 1


Yes. For example, the nationalisation of industries brought expanded reproduction into the state function. So do public private partnerships. The generalisation of private sector management standards and language have made obvious the service provisions of commodities to customers in areas like welfare, defence procurement, archival or parliamentary services.

I commend Volume 1 of Capital to you, in particular chapters 1 to 6, because your use of the term in commentary differs significantly from that present in the literature you reference. The value-form, as in "the commodity," is a social relationship not an object.

  • $\begingroup$ Nationalization is the opposite of commodification. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2018 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ See Marx on what the commodity is, Capital 1 1-6 ought to help you; in particular note the existence of alienated wage labour in nationalised industries. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2018 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ Just because there's wage labor in institution X, does not necessarily mean X is commodified, it just means X's inputs/outputs are commodified. I'm looking for the commodification of X itself, not just its inputs/outputs. Do you need me to explain this in simpler terms to help you wrap your head around it? $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2018 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @EternalPropagation I don't know what you mean either, so please do edit your question to clarify. Without the patronising tone, if possible. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Nov 21, 2018 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Example: You find an unknown patch of trees that bear some fruit. You pick these fruits yourself and eat them yourself. No commodification. You decide to pick a few extra and give them to your friends. No commodification. You decide to pick a few extra and sell them at market. Output commodification. You decide to pay a confidant to pick fruits for you and then you sell them at market. Input/Output commodification. You decide to sell your knowledge of the copse to someone and promise to leave. Copse/Input/Output commodification.....The commodified State can be bought/sold. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2018 at 10:41

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