Sunday, August 14, 2016

Branko Milanovic — Commodification again—a response to Diane Coyle

In a very nice post published today Diane Coyle, commenting on my blog on Commodification(published yesterday) takes me to task for the following sentence:

“The most obvious case is commodification of activities that used to be conducted within extended families and then, as we became richer and more individualistic within nuclear families. Cooking has now become out-sourced and families often do not eat meals together. Cleaning and child-rearing have become more commercialized than before or ever.”

I should have added a number of other activities: fixing the roof, doing kids’ homework, car repairs, gardening, and this quintessential US activity of raking the leaves.

It would have been, perhaps clearer, that I did not have in mind only activities predominantly done by women but also by men.
Now two points remain to be explain.…
Essential to economic liberalism and private property is first the enclosure of the commons, secondly the commodification (capitalization) of all activity, and thirdly, the the substitution of rent extraction for profit from competition, which under perfect competition is the money return on capital ("the interest rate").

Global Inequality
Commodification again—a response to Diane Coyle
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

BTW, a major aspect of commodification is the fraying of the social fabric. So far this has not been mentioned specifically in the discussion on commodification. Nor has alienation. Bot of these effects are well known to sociologists and social psychologists but not so much to economists, apparently since it is not in their portfolio under the overarching paradigm of economic liberalism that isolates economics from psychology and the social sciences, as well as social and political philosophy, ethics, action theory, and value theory.

1 comment:

Bob said...

What is the definition of a family?
Can I hire someone to be my spouse, along with a couple of orphans to play the role of our children? Do I buy a pet, or rent one?
Virtual reality systems may be another route to having a family. Or robotics.

When people choose not to socialize in ways they once did, it is not necessarily unhealthy. Perhaps humans are not quite the 'social animals' we believe ourselves to be, when given alternatives.