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Marx and Today’s Retail World

“The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates…Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity…” Isn’t that an amazing description of today’s retail landscape. The sales “help” and “service” staff are viewed by their employers, their customers and, occasionally, I suspect, themselves as commodities. Plenty of ’em out there. Go with the cheapest. Interchangable parts. Odd to think that Marx nailed it. But harder not to notice, even in our own behavior, how much easier it is to deal with an ATM than a teller. We want a convenient transaction, not the give and take of a relationship. The self-check out grocery, convenience, and mass merchant moment is arriving. We won’t need to deal with anyone.