The latest iteration of an article I have been developing in light of Marx’s monetary theory of value and the relation between his use of fetishism, natural history and primitive accumulation:
This article posits a new interpretation of how Marx utilizes Charles de Brosses’s theory of fetishism. In contrast to accounts, like Keston Sunderland’s, that focus on the parallels between Marx and de Brosseses’ accounts of fetishized consciousness, I focus on how Marx employs de Brosses’s description of the “fetish object” in his account of money — as a thing that possesses “fetish-characteristic” properties. By aligning this aspect of Marx’s theory of money with his account of natural history, I show, that like the fetish object, money’s “social power” consists in the ability to protect people from the misfortunes generated by the “natural laws” of capitalism. This leads me to conclude that Marx deployed de Brosses’s theory in a far more pronounced way than has been recognized. For while de Brosses held that fetishism could be overcome by enlightened thought, Marx is pointing out that capitalism compels us to act in ways to acquire money and to treat it as inherently valuable — even if we know if it Is inherently worthless – to protect us from the ‘primitive’ society we have collectively created.