A Commodified World

Mapping the Limits of Capitalism

Colin C. Williams

A Commodified World

Colin C. Williams

Distributed for Zed Books

320 pages | 5.4375 x 8.5 | © 2005
Paper $44.95 ISBN: 9781842773550 Published March 2005 For sale in North and South America only
Critiques the notion that in Late Capitalism all economic relations become always ever more commodified, while ‘non-capitalist‘ activities disappear. It demonstrates that a combination of new ‘cultures of resistance‘ all constrain this tendency or even threaten to reverse it. Colin Williams finds that, even in the advanced economies, a non-commodified realm persists that is as large as the commodified sphere and growing relative to it. He draws on extensive empirical evidence of trends and new patterns of economic activity - including changes in women‘s participation, differences between wealthy and poor urban areas, and between urban and rural sectors. He explores non-commodified practices of resistance. And he concludes that governments and communities, by de-coupling production and consumption from the commodified realm, could open up alternative development paths.
Contents
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction
            Argument of the Book
 
Part I. The Penetration of Commodification: A Critical Evaluation
 
2. The Commodification Thesis
            An Implacable Economic Logic?
            Where is the Evidence to Support the Commodification Thesis?
            Conclusions
 
3. Subsistence Work
            Subsistence Work in the Commodification Thesis
            Measuring Subsistence Work
            The Magnitude of Subsistence Work
            The Changing Size of the Subsistence Sphere
            Conclusions
 
4. Non-monetized Exchange
            Non-monetized Exchange in the Commodification Thesis
            Measuring Non-monetized Exchange
            Magnitude of Non-monetized Exchange
            Changing Size of the Non-monetized Realm
            Conclusions
 
5. Not-for-Profit Monetized Exchange
            Monetized Exchange in the Commodification Thesis
            The State
            The Not-for-Profit Sector
            Monetized Exchange in the ‘Cash-in-Hand’ Economy
            Monetized Exchange in the Private Sector
            Conclusions
 
Part II. The Uneven Contours of Commodification
 
6. Socio-economic Disparities
            Socio-economic Disparities in the Penetration of Commodified Work
            Socio-economic Disparities in Subsistence Work
            Socio-economic Disparities in Non-monetized Exchange
            Socio-economic Disparities in Cash-in-Hand Work
            Conclusions
 
7. The Uneven Geographies of Commodification
            Examining the Uneven Geographies of Commodification
            The Uneven Geographies of Commodification in Contemporary England
            The Uneven Geographies of Subsistence Work
            The Uneven Geographies of Non-monetized Exchange
            The Uneven Geographies of Cash-in-Hand Work
            Conclusions
 
8. Gender and Commodification
            Gender Disparities in Formal Employment
            Gender and the Commodification of Working Time
            Gender Disparities in Subsistence Work
            Gender Disparities in Non-monetized Exchange
            Gender Disparities in Cash-in-Hand Work
            Conclusion
 
9. Beyond the Advanced Economies
            The Transition Economies
            The Majority World
            Conclusions
 
Part III. Future Options and Their Implications
 
10. Towards a Commodified World
            Towards a Commodified World: Inevitability or Choice?
            Repressing Non-commodified Work
            Critical Evaluation of the Repressive Approach
            Conclusions
 
11. Doing Nothing
            A Laissez-faire Approach towards Non-commodified Work
            Disparities in Non-commodified Work
            Conclusions
 
12. Fostering Plural Economies
            Discourses on Cultivating Economic Pluralism
            From Commodification to Full Engagement
            Barriers to Engagement in Non-commodified Work
            Conclusions
 
13. Cultivating Work beyond the Commodity Economy
            Towards a Plural Economy, Not a Dual Society
            Grassroots Initiatives to Foster Non-commodified Work
            Top-down Initiatives to Cultivate Non-commodified Work
            Conclusions
 
14. Conclusions
            A Critical Evaluation of the Commodification Thesis
            The Uneven Penetration of Commodification
            Policy Options and Their Implications
            Beyond a Commodified World
 
References
 
Index
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