Globalization of Culture Leads to Production Fetishism

Globalization refers to the state of international integration that occurs due to exchange of world ideas, products, views and other features of culture. The enhancements of transportation, telecommunications, internet and infrastructure have all contributed to globalization. Arjun Appadurai ideas of globalization have helped develop the theory of production fetishism. Additionally, Karl Marx theory of commodity fetishism enhances Appadurai views on production fetishism (Appadurai 179).

Production fetishism refers to the perception of how social relationships are mixed up in the production process. These social relationships are not like those between people, but as economic relationships, amongst money and goods traded in the marketplace. In this way, production fetishism changes the subjective, intangible nature of economic worth into objective, which means actual things that humans believe hold intrinsic value. In Arjun Appadurai’s book Modernity at Large, he describes cultural globalization as movement of ideas across the globe. Appadurai claims that humans need to stop thinking of globalization as the movement of products, and begin seeing it as movement of people as well as ideas. In essence, it becomes clear that the ideas and process of building/production from those ideas holds essential value that the goods themselves (Appadurai 179).

Appadurai claims that globalization of ideas or imagination works differently from globalization based on trade. He advocates for a situation where people can think beyond the exchange of goods, and instead focus on how cultural, as well as intellectual generate more in today’s world. For instance, he illustrates with the concept of migration which he claims is not limited to movement of people. He argues that migration process means that there exists transportation of ideas, life styles, norms, values and everyday lives from the country of origin. The immigrants’ generate important aspects of social change that adds significant value to the host country. In a similar manner, this idea of cultural flow enhances production fetishism because human value becomes more vital since it produces change in the host country (Appadurai 179).

Appadurai feels that goods and services do not end in consumption as many economics believe. The idea itself is an illusion and by re-situating consumption in terms of time and place, it would be difficult to know how consumers make preferences and how demand is generated. In essence, people get to make free choices on their daily lives, but their choices are constricted by the market. All things remain commodities, from food, housing, health, leisure and even knowledge. In reality, all things are purchased and sold through the capitalist market. From this description, it becomes apparent that goods are socially constructed and humanly generated. The idea led to cultural landscapes which are socially created, and humans create these landscapes from their daily activities. This idea shows that production fetishism is a reality because everything occurs from human labor, which is more important than the goods themselves (Appadurai 180).

Karl Marx theory of commodity fetishism also agrees with Appadurai’s viewpoint of globalization of culture leading to production fetishism. Through commodity fetishism, Marx argues that the actual social relations of production get hindered by the availability of goods within the capitalist market. The goods, instead of human labor, are perceived to hold more value in a capitalist society. Marx feels that it is human labor that gives a good or product its real value. This evidence remains true because without the human contribution and ideas the product would not exist. It is important to have cultural relationships across the globe to give value and meaning to the goods and services (Wood 27).

Marx indicates that without human relations, the goods would not have any value at all. All the goods that are available in the market are part of the entire total of all socially generated products and services coming to existence through human labor. People across the globe generate goods and services to be traded, shipped, sold and also resold. However, their value cannot be realized until they find a buyer and especially exchanged through money. In essence, the idea brought forth is that social character that exists between the workers creating the goods has significant value. The globalization of culture needs to be intensified and highlighted because it gives value to the things in the society (Wood 28).

In essence, globalization of culture plays a huge role in enhancing human growth and relationships. This globalization of culture ensures that production fetishism becomes meaningful because human labor, ideas, and contribution develop the society. It is of utmost important for people to value ideas and involvement of others instead of focusing on trade for money (Wood 28).


Globalization refers to the international interactions that result through exchange of ideas, goods and various features of culture. Appadurai cites globalization of ideas as the most important aspect of human relations instead of focusing on exchange of goods for money. Marx enhances this idea by arguing that the capitalist market puts emphasis on the commodities instead of human labor that is responsible for the existence of the product. In conclusion, it becomes evident that globalization of culture remains valuable over goods because it leads to production fetishism.



The post Globalization of Culture Leads to Production Fetishism appeared first on Skilled Papers.





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