The Air Cure Town: Commodifying Mountain Air in Alpine Central Europe
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CitationFrank, Alison F. 2012. “The Air Cure Town: Commodifying Mountain Air in Alpine Central Europe.” Central European History 45 (02) (June): 185–207. doi:10.1017/s0008938912000027.
AbstractDoes air have value? In the first volume of Capital, Marx suggested it did not: “A thing can be a use-value, without having value,” he explained. “This is the case whenever its utility to man is not due to labour. Such are air, virgin soil, natural meadows, &c.” Because it has no value, understood by Marx in this context to mean labor value, air cannot be a commodity: “Commodities come into the world in the shape of use-values, articles, or goods, such as iron, linen, corn, &c. This is their plain, homely, bodily form. They are, however, commodities, only because they are something two fold, both object of utility, and, at the same time, depositories of value.” Marx's materialist focus on human labor and industrial production made it hard for him to imagine air as a commodity—at least when he published the first volume of Capital in 1867.
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