Beyond the Market: Representing Work in Advanced Economies

International Journal of Social Economics, 2006, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 284-297.

14 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Purpose

A recurring assumption across the social sciences is that non-commodified work has been increasingly replaced by the commodified sphere in which goods and services are produced and delivered for monetary exchange by capitalist firms for profit-motivated purposes. Here, this thesis is evaluated critically.

Methodology

A review is conducted of the extent of commodified and non-commodified work in the advanced economies.

Findings

Analyzing the extent of commodified and non-commodified work in the advanced economies, the commodified sphere is shown to be far from hegemonic and, if anything, to have receded rather than penetrated deeper during the last four decades. This is here explained in terms of both the existence of resistance cultures to market-ism and the contradictions inherent in the structural shift towards commodification.

Practical implications

The outcome is a call to transcend the representation of commodified work as victorious, all-powerful and hegemonic, and for greater discussion of the feasibility of, and possibilities for, alternative futures beyond a commodified world.

Value of the paper

It contests the dominant narrative that we live in an ever more commodified world.

Keywords: informal economy, binary hierarchy, dualism, future of work

JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17, P2, P3

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, Beyond the Market: Representing Work in Advanced Economies (2006). International Journal of Social Economics, 2006, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 284-297., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2708219

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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