Commodification Without Money

9 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2010 Last revised: 17 May 2010

Date Written: January 16, 2010


The classic commodification critique associates commodification with the introduction of money, or at least with the introduction of markets into relationships, blaming monetary evaluation ("price-tagging") for flattening human interaction. In a recent paper Bruce Carruthers has enriched the discussion of money and commodification by complicating the implications of using money. In this paper, I take up the flipside of the "money equals commodification" equation arguing that commodification can exist absent money. My claim is based on Elizabeth Anderson's understanding of the problems in commodification as facilitating unidimentional systems of evaluation which deprive people of the variety of choices available to them when operating in a multiple-spheres environment. Understood abstractly, as crossing spheres (and thus undermining them), commodificatory concerns do not have to include money or even markets, as long as they limit our capacity to evaluate people, things, and relationships under multiple spheres. To demonstrate this claim, I focus on one particular regime - governmental regulation - and argue that introducing governmental regulation into personal spheres entails commodification.

Keywords: Commodification, Regulation

Suggested Citation

Dagan, Tsilly, Commodification Without Money (January 16, 2010). Bar Ilan Univ. Pub Law Working Paper No. 03-10. Available at SSRN: or

Tsilly Dagan (Contact Author)

Bar Ilan University ( email )

Ramat Gan
Ramat Gan, 52900

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