chapter  3
32 Pages

The Mirror of Production

The Realization Problem of Capital
ByMark Gottdiener

This chapter explains the dependency of both production and consumption on symbolic appeals, while also acknowledging the importance of the more traditional consideration of production costs, profits, prices, and consumer budgets. Modern economic analysis emphasizes the world of production. Early analysts of capitalism focused on the first step in the equation—namely the conversion of money to commodity production within the environment of the factory. The realization of capital, in Baudrillard's view, was the precondition for the growth of the productive powers of the capitalist system; Karl Marx, in contrast, emphasized the historical dynamic of the production process as the precondition for capitalism. Baudrillard considers political economists, especially those who adopt a Marxian approach, under the spell of the "mirror of production." George Ritzer sees the production and sale of this product as ruled by the Weberian process of instrumental rationality.