On ‘The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society’

By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession.  The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being.  It therefore functions as the almighty being.  Money is the pimp between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. XXXXXXXXXXX         XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX-Marx, ‘The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society’

In this piece from The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, Marx describes the miraculous power of money under capitalism — a “visible divinity” and a “common whore, the common pimp of people and nations.”

The lust for money as expressed in popular culture would therefore come as no surprise to Marx.  “Everything You Wanted to Know about Marx but Were Afraid  to Ask Gucci Mane,” a multi-part series in Jacobin magazine by Malcolm Harris is an excellent exploration of this theme in Gucci Mane’s 2010 album “The Appeal.”  As Harris notes, in the album’s 5th track, “Making Love to The Money,” the “conditioned need to accumulate has turned to an erotic drive.”

See more here: On Gucci Mane and Capital Part I: “Feeling Brand New”           On Gucci Mane and Capital Part II: “She’ll Go to War with Anybody”

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4 responses to “On ‘The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society’

  1. I think Gucci Mane touches on a huge problem in our society today. Nowadays people just want the next best thing at any expense. Everyone wants the new phone, or car, or wife. People believe that there’s always something better than what they have. I think our society has become this way because of everyone’s obsession to be a part of a higher class. People just want to be at the top because they think it must be better than where they are. If people would be happy with what they have than I think many of our societies issues would be solved. I think because people are so focused on making money they’ve lost the sense of where to stop. People don’t know when enough is enough. They no longer appreciate their families, their homes, or their job that their so blessed to have. At the end of the day like Gucci says, the money is spent and it’s gone for someone else to enjoy. If money is only made to be spent on stuff we end up one day hating, (also an idea from Gucci), then why does society worship it so much?

  2. @TamaraHammer, I totally agree with you when you say that Gucci Mane touches a huge problem in our society today. I see this exact problem occurring in the community I am apart of in my town. The people in my town are EXTREMELY materialistic. They go overboard. Basically, if you don’t own the top brand names in EVERYTHING, you are considered a “nobody”. If you drive a Nissan compared to a BMW, you have an extremely low class car, even though Nissans are great quality. If you have a blackberry, people think of you like, “Oh, poor girl she cannot afford an iphone”. It becomes ridiculous after some time. Everyone tries to “show off” what they own to feel superior to others. The more money you have, the better of a person you are. I see this in my own family a little…my uncle always says “the most important aspect of life is money”. Apart of me sometimes agrees with him. To address the last point you made: “If money is only made to be spent on stuff we end up one day hating, (also an idea from Gucci), then why does society worship it so much?”, I believe this is a very interesting point. I always buy clothes that I end up disliking after a year. I think this is because that piece of clothing became “out of style”, so I “worship” money because it allows me to buy a new piece of clothing.

  3. I agree with what has been said so far, and definitely feel that money’s status as the “great equalizer” is extremely powerful, and possibly destructive. Part of money’s allure is its ability to help someone acquire things, but I think its great power is its ability to change. Deficiencies and flaws of almost any nature can be fixed, and in our hyperconscious consumer driven culture, where image is so crucial, money becomes dominant.
    In line with this idea of “image” and perception, the media and those deemed members of popular culture have significant influence. I do think it’s interesting that while Gucci may be using some of the celebrity examples cited in this song (Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, etc.) to highlight how intense our society’s hunger for money is, bringing up their names just further celebrates their ridiculous antics. I definitely understand that using pop culture references in rap songs is a common occurrence that can hook the listener, but associating these celebrities with the, almost “erotic,” pursuit of money communicates a message that says that what they are doing can lead to riches.
    Additionally, Gucci’s personification of money as a “her” not only reinforces the objectification of women within the rap game, but could echo Marx’s ideas regarding how women are perceived within a Bourgeoisie ideology. It poses a parallel between money as a commodity (the ultimate commodity), and women the commodity. The fourth alienation caused by capitalism, between man and other people is perceptible here, and one could argue if this “creative” endeavor by Gucci is truly in line with his “species being.”

  4. The comment made my @TamaraHammer said it perfectly when speaking about the problem in our society when it comes to showing off. I feel the same way in the sense that our society has become progressively worse due to the fact that everyone just wants money in order to show off and prove that what they have is better than everyone else’s. Gucci also proves Marx’s point on how money functions as the almighty being because we see how Gucci states that he “kicks them hoes out, but let the money stay” as in nothing else matters but the money. Also in the 2nd verse of the song we see how Gucci shows through his lyrics that everyone is crazy about his “woman” (the money) and that everyone is out to get “her” from him if he is not careful.

    In response to the comment made by @dharamati Gucci is not bringing up the celebrities Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian to celebrate their antics or to give listeners a false message that doing “what they are doing can lead to riches” instead he just states that he has a “white lion in his house and named it Miley Cyrus” because most people know that Miley Cyrus is white so therefore he is just simplying using her as a metaphor. Also, same goes with the sex tape line, he is not implying that Kim Kardashian got rich from making a sex tape (which for the most part is 100% accurate) instead he is just giving listeners an image to show how much he loves his money that he is willing to make the same kind of sex tape as Kim K and Ray J.

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