A commodity stands in the place of the social relationships between exchange partners.
“ A commodity is … a mysterious thing… because the relationship of the producers … is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour.”
Capital Vol. 1
The Cultural Nature of Commodities (and Money)
Markets are SYMBOLIC systems of VALUE
Money – mediator of value
Social relationships are abstracted into money and commodities.
Social differentiation based on relationships mediated by money & commodities = Class
Patron-Client Networks and Rational Bureaucracies Comparing Two Cultural Systems (A Clash of Cultures)