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Decommodification is the strength of social entitlements and citizens' degree of immunization from market dependency.

Decommodification is the process of viewing utilities as an entitlement, rather than as a commodity that must be paid or traded for. In effect, a decommodified product removes itself from the market, and can be associated with welfarism. An example of decommodification would be the removal of tolls from a toll road or the internet before becoming mostly supported by private ISPs.

Decommodification has been identified as a strategy for sustainable consumption that acts one level up on the institutional context of consumption in Western societies as compared to strategies such as eco-efficiency and eco-sufficiency.[1] Thus, while the eco-efficiency strategy targets the product and the eco-sufficiency strategy targets the person (the consumer as decision-maker), the decommodification strategy targets the institutional context in which consumption takes place. It aims to decrease the influence of commodities and to limit the effect of commercialisation.

Other sources[edit]

Decommodification of Labor Theory (DLT) is a criminological theory that focuses on the intersection of homicide and the free-market capitalist system. It argues that there is a direct relationship between the commodification of the social being and the propensity to engage in a major anti-social act (i.e. homicide)

Theory DLT is a synthesis of Esping-Andersen’s (1990) economic theory of commodification and the macrosocial institutional-anomie theory of crime, first proposed by Messner and Rosenfeld in Crime and the American Dream (1992)

DLT hypothesizes that decommodification of labor is negatively related to homicide rates, an inverse relationship that argues for social services to mitigate antisocial behavior through: (1) ease of access, (2) income-replacement value and (3) the range of social statuses and conditions covered

DLT argues that decommodification of labor lowers economic dominance and reduces "anomic pressure" (i.e. loss of values/morals) resulting in a reduction of antisocial behavior.


Esping-Andersen, Gosta. 1990. The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton University Press.

Messner, Steven F., and Richard Rosenfeld. 1997. Crime and the American Dream. 2d ed. Wadsworth

Messner, Steven F., and Richard Rosenfeld. 1997. Political Restraint of the Market and Levels of Criminal Homicide. Social Forces 75(4) 1393-1416

More on decommodification of information can be found at this World Social Forum page.