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A Chapter in the Philosophy of Value

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The fact of economic exchange confers upon the value of things something super-individual. It detaches them from dissolution in the mere subjectivity of the agents, and causes them to determine each other reciprocally, since each exerts its economic function in the other. The practically effective value is conferred upon the object, not merely by its own desirability, but by the desirability of another object. Not merely the relationship to the receptive subjects characterizes this value, but also the fact that it arrives at this relationship only at the price of a sacrifice; while from the opposite point of view this sacrifice appears as a good to be enjoyed, and the object in question, on the contrary, as a sacrifice. Hence the objects acquire a reciprocity of counterweight, which make...


Georg Simmel.

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