Exchange

“Though [Adorno’s] materialism vies with Marx’s own, it is distinctly a form of Marxism, and most of all in the sense that the restoration of the content relies on an insight that can be followed from antiquity’s critique of lex talionis, to Rousseau, to Kant, to Fichte’s critique of capital punishment, and most of all to Marx: that there is nothing that can be traded for life that is its equal. Wage does not compensate either in maximums or minimums; the internal structure of the wage relation is necessarily life robbed and sacrificed. This insight was a given for Adorno; pushed, it could be called the meaning of his thought. And while he was completely aware that Marx’s theory of class struggle did not begin to comprehend the whole structure of domination and failed to carry through the critique of life as labor, still Adorno could not have imagined that anything could be hoped for socially that would not somehow make good on this fundamental insight into the inequality of exchange.”

[Robert Hullot-Kentor, ‘Adorno Without Quotation’]