Simulation and Symbolic Exchange: Jean Baudrillard’s Augmentation of Marx’s Theory of Value

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew M Koch Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: Jean Baudrillard's concept of "symbolic exchange" represents an important concept in understanding why Marx's prediction regarding the collapse of capitalism has not been realized. Baudrillard adds to the Marxian concepts of use value and exchange value, suggesting that, in today's consumer-oriented society, commodities take on a symbolic value that constitutes their "status" and, therefore, power. In the Western industrial societies that are "networked" into information cultures, the generation of symbolic value results from a constantly changing symbolic environment in which new demands for access to symbolic status are generated. Baudrillard sees the United States as the farthest along on the path to a simulated environment of symbolic exchange. Manufacturing for symbolic exchange is directed toward the production of the fetish: an object that is positioned purely for its symbolic value. By directing production increasingly in the direction of the fetish, as an object to be used in symbolic exchange, capitalism is able to sustain itself even after the material needs of the population are satisfied.

Additional Information

Publication
Koch, Andrew M. and Rick Elmore. “Simulation and Symbolic Exchange: Jean Baudrillard’s Augmentation of Marx’s Theory of Value” Politics and Policy 34 (3) 556-575. September, 2006. Wiley Blackwell (ISSN: 1555-5623) DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2006.00028.x Version of record at: http://0-www3.interscience.wiley.com
Language: English
Date: 2006
Keywords
Jean Baudrillard, symbolic exchange, Karl Marx, Capitalism