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The commodity is intimately located at the interface of economy, society, and the environment. Referred to as “the DNA of capitalism” and the heart of contemporary market economies, the commodity appears as such a simple and obvious thing. We buy things to fill a perceived or required need. When one gets down to it, though, commodities are fascinatingly complex and multifaceted. They are vessels for a multitudinous array of social, political, economic, geographical, and environmental relationships. Think of just some of what went into bringing you that cup of coffee that started your day: the intensive labor of a small farm family in Mexico (or Ethiopia, Vietnam, Indonesia) or that of a plantation worker in Brazil (or Guatemala, Kenya, Columbia); the pesticides used; the processing/pulping ...

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