What is it about?

A recurring theme across the social sciences is that non-capitalist production is disappearing, albeit slowly and unevenly, and is being replaced by a commodified economy in which goods and services are produced by capitalist firms for a profit under conditions of market exchange. In this paper, however, I evaluate critically this commodification thesis.

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Why is it important?

Even in the heartland of commoditisation - the advanced economies - large economic spaces are identified where alternative economic relations and motives prevail. Rather than view them as leftovers of pre-capitalist formations, this paper argues that they are the result of both the contradictions inherent in the structural shifts associated with the pursuit of commodification as well as the existence of ‘cultures of resistance’. As such, they are viewed as ‘spaces of hope’ which highlight the demonstrable construction and practice of alternative social relations and logic’s of work outside profit-motivated market-orientated exchange.

Perspectives

Questions the hegemony of capitalism and that we are at the end of history

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: A Critical Evaluation of the Commodification Thesis, The Sociological Review, November 2002, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1111/1467-954x.00397.
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