Towards a Commodified World? Re-Reading Economic Development in Western Economies

International Journal of Economic Development, vol. 6, no.1, pp. 1-21, 2004

21 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2013

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

A recurring assumption across the social sciences is that non-market economic practices are disappearing and being replaced by commodified practices where goods and services are produced and delivered for monetized exchange by capitalist firms for profit-motivated purposes. In this paper, this commodification thesis is evaluated critically. Analyzing the volume of commodified and non-commodified work in the advanced economies, the commodified sphere is revealed to be far from hegemonic and receding rather than penetrating deeper during the last four decades. This is here explained in terms of both the prevalence of resistance cultures to market-ism and the contradictions inherent in the structural shift towards commodification. The outcome is a call to transcend the view of the commodified realm as victorious, all-powerful and hegemonic, and for greater recognition to be given to the feasibility of alternative futures beyond a commodified world.

Keywords: economic development, western economies, informal economy, informal sector, commodification, marketization, commercialisation, capitalism

JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, Towards a Commodified World? Re-Reading Economic Development in Western Economies (2004). International Journal of Economic Development, vol. 6, no.1, pp. 1-21, 2004 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2290015 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290015

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

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