Marxist Review of Iphone 5

1018 Words5 Pages
iAbuse The new iPhone 5 from capitalist giant, Apple, debuted this past week with over one million of these commodities sold in the first day alone. The Apple iPhone 5 is a smart phone that is made mostly of aluminum, glass, and the rare earth metals: lanthanum, europium cerium (The Week, 1). What could cause the masses to buy this commodity in such high quantities? The answer lies in its use-value. The iPhone 5 has so many uses it is hard to list. It can be used as a telephone, a web browser, a camera, a gaming device, a GPS, a word processor, and even a flashlight! While this device has a plethora of uses, it is more difficult to discern its other values. According to Marx, “The value of one commodity is to the value of any other, as the labor-time necessary for the production of the one is to that necessary for the production of the other.” (Marx, 306) For exchange value we use money as the medium of exchange and it can represent labor time. The iPhone 5’s exchange value in terms of American dollars is $599 for the base iPhone, and $799 for the upgraded version. The value of the iPhone is a little bit harder to discern, but we have managed to do so through some investigative journalism into the Foxconn factories where the devices are produced. The phone is produced in factories in China and Taiwan with the parts coming from China. There is a significant amount of production behind the iPhone 5. The rare earth metals and aluminum must be mined by workers, trucked to the circuitry production facilities and fabricated. The glass must be created by workers, cut, polished and shipped to production facilities as well. Then the device must be put together by workers, programmed for use, and packaged and shipped. The value of the iPhone is estimated at twenty-four average labor hours that are required to assemble the iPhone in the factory plus the additional labor
Open Document