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On the Peculiarity of Class Reproduction in the Society of Exchange and the Popular Subject of Rising Inequality in the United States

Ivanova, Maria N. 2018. On the Peculiarity of Class Reproduction in the Society of Exchange and the Popular Subject of Rising Inequality in the United States. Capital & Class, 42(1), pp. 23-41. ISSN 0309-8168 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Capitalism as a mode of production and a form of social organization differs from all hitherto existing society in that it does not rely on the preservation of traditional hierarchies or on direct coercion to secure its reproduction. Capitalist society coheres on the basis of exchange which establishes a network of interdependent relations between individuals. Drawing on the work of Alfred Sohn-Rethel, this paper engages with the apparent paradox of how the reproduction of class society takes the form of spontaneous exchange transactions between autonomous individuals. The paper further argues that the conceptual basis of cognition is historically and socially conditioned and highlights the unique identity between the structure of exchange and the conceptual mode of thinking. Finally, the paper demonstrates how the hidden character of social domination and ‘the secret identity’ of commodity form and thought form serve to systematically obscure the true origins and nature of fundamental social problems. The case in point is the popular topic of rising inequality in the United States, a direct outcome of the reproduction of class relations, the underlying cause of which – the deepening division of intellectual and manual labor – is either conveniently ignored or, worse still, glorified.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/0309816817692121

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics

Dates:

DateEvent
20 October 2016Accepted
16 February 2017Published Online
1 February 2018Published

Item ID:

19098

Date Deposited:

02 Dec 2016 10:34

Last Modified:

24 Jun 2019 08:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/19098

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