Mardi Gras Made In China Summary

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David Redmon’s documentary, Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005) provides an insight on Karl Marx’s theory of exploitation within capitalism. It does an exceptional job at explaining how exploitation exists in a capitalist society by tracing the simple commodity of beads used in the festival of Mardi Gras in New Orleans while revealing the hidden picture of its social and economic effect on the factory workers. Karl Marx’s class structure theory of capitalism can be observed in Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005). The cycle of exploitation that the Chinese workers face is further expanded in the film by explaining how exploitation works under capitalism through the differences between society’s values, the conditions of labour that the workers are in to produce the Mardi Gras beads, as well as how commodity fetishism takes part into the continuation of exploitation. A capitalist society encourages exploitation of workers through consumerism. This can be observed in Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005) by recognizing how use-value, exchange-value and surplus-value in our society promotes exploitation. The documentary provides insight that the usefulness of a thing, or the use-value, is often disregarded when people purchase commodities to keep up with trends rather than for its use. Exchange-value exists within capitalism, where consumers are not as interested at an item’s usefulness. Rather, they are more interested in its monetary value and what they can obtain in exchange for the
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