1. Definitions of and examples of outcomes of commodification consistent with each definition of commodification


Discussion and examples

(D1) Exchanges through which capitalism redefines something in terms of its extrinsic, measurable characteristics.

Exchanges in which the value of relational goods attributed to their connection to a person(s) are ignored and instead goods are valued for their physical properties that can be exchanged in arm’s length markets. For example, this process can be observed at estate sales when goods once partially valued for their connections to people are valued only for their physical properties.

(D2) Exchanges in which a commodity culture is created or enlarged.

Settings in which people view commodity exchanges as increasingly important. Furthermore, as the commodity culture expands, the value of commodities exchanged depends increasingly of their physical properties traded in arm’s length markets. For example, care of the elderly was once viewed as an exchange of relational goods. Increasingly, the care of the elderly is reduced to an economic exchange of money for services.

(D3) Exchanges through which something “human” or “inalienable” becomes valued for its exchangeability in a market

Exchanges in which buying/selling something previously deemed “unsalable” because of its relational nature comes to be viewed as a commodity in which its value depends only on its observable (mostly physical) properties. Examples include the sale of body parts, prostitution, and slavery.

(D4) Exchanges through which a product becomes undifferentiated in a market setting

Production processes (a type of exchange) and products that once could be associated with a particular skilled artisan are produced in processes in which the product can no longer be identified with a particular individual. For example, violins and some furniture were once produced in cottage industries by individuals known to the buyers. Now violins and furniture (with some exceptions) are no longer identified with a specific individual.

(D5) Neoliberal globalism ideas associated with laissez-faire economics are applied to exchanges in international trading settings

International trade exchanges in which the products including relational goods are viewed as commodities and exchanged for money which lead countries to value their relationships with other nations in terms of their commodity exchange potential.