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Commodification

  • By: Paula Duarte Lopes
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Commodification constitutes the process of transforming something into a tradable good—a commodity. This process is considered by many as inevitable when the issue is scarcity (e.g., current “water crisis”) and the most efficient when the issue is related to negative effects of some activity (e.g., pollution contributing to climate change). Nevertheless, commodification is a political process and requires the definition of property rights, which emanate from a political-legislative act.

Commodification has gained increased relevance since the 1980s, with the shift in the economic paradigm framing political decisions and the government's role in the economy. The neoliberal economic paradigm has (convincingly) presented markets as the most efficient method of allocating resources, goods, and services. Because markets are believed to foster the community's well-being, by creating the best ...

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