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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Systems of Exchange

The Photographer and I are discussing playing with a barter system in which I offer myself for service, in exchange for something nice. Which got me thinking about how this correlates with marxist theory.

We are in a terribly post-marxist position of the item given (my time) being inseperably linked to both the means and the method of production. All three of which are me, effectively. In this way, we really understand and are very close to the true value of what is being offered. However, the item given, the example we used was jewellry, is actually totally removed from either its producer and its cash worth.

This cash worth in and of itself doesn't have any particular meaning because it's not a true business transaction. I don't care about the money. However, it does signify one and as such the value depends on the meaning given to it by both parties. A collar, for example, probably has more inherent meaning than dinner. Even though the latter could potentially cost more cash. So the "value" of the item is not necessarily linked to the money spent on it. The item given is totally devoid of any link to how it was made, and by who, it is a token, invested in alternative meaning.

So we have, in essence, a fetishised item (in the marxist sense) exchanged for a fetishised item (in the bdsm sense).

What makes it even more interesting is that the value of both items is in flux because they are based on what we agree that they are worth.
The time purchased is based on my worth / worthiness, which comes from the buyer's perception, a perception that will change over time and experience. Stocks may fall as well as rise. The item given is, in turn, based on my perception of its value - how much I like the piece of jewellry for example. It therefore becomes a symbolic exchange based on the link on the value/meaning of the item itself versus the worth of me/my time to you. Neither of which are fixed.

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