Simmel’s perfect money relies on total knowledge – of systems, of operations, of causes, of effects, of ins and of outs – in order to create a relative price index that is sensitive universally. It is in this way that unequal pricing resembles our current financial markets, minus the utopian ethics. When value is added to the equation, capitalism changes course. Unequal pricing would mean that something other than or in addition to the bottom line be accounted for. This is something the best, magnanimous capitalists always appear to do – corporate social responsibility and the like.
Forms of exploitation arise primarily through manipulations of labor on the back end, rather than of value or price on the front. As the world market grows ever more complex, capitalism has indeed welcomed a comprehensive consideration of its own components – relationships between supply and demand, the general state of the economy, and the shifting productivity of people and objects – but has categorically rejected individual consumer circumstance as a governing economic principle. Demographics speak loudly. It doesn’t matter who you are, but what.