Commodification is the transformation of goods, services, ideas and people into commodities or objects of trade. A commodity at its most basic, according to Arjun Appadurai, is "anything intended for exchange," or any object of economic value.[1] People are commodified—turned into objects—when working, by selling their labour on the market to an employer.[2] One of its forms is slavery. Others are the trading with animals and body parts through formalised or informalised organ transplant.[3]

Commodification is often criticised on the grounds that some things ought not to be treated as commodities—for example water, education, data, information, and knowledge in the digital age.[4]


The earliest use of the word commodification in English attested in the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1975.[5] Use of the concept of commodification became common with the rise of critical discourse analysis in semiotics.[6] Google's Ngram viewer indicates a usage as early as 1891.

Other Languages
العربية: سلعنة
čeština: Komodifikace
Esperanto: Varigado
français: Marchandisation
Bahasa Indonesia: Komodifikasi
Nederlands: Commodificatie
português: Comoditização
中文: 商品化