The Value Of A Commodity

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We live in an age where markets have reduced everything to the status of a commodity that can be sold, bought, traded in and/or stolen. This includes factors such as labor, human beings and their reproductive capacity (Scheper-Hughes, 2002). This makes us wonder about what really makes something qualify as a commodity and what the qualities of a commodity are. These questions receive very different answers presently than what they would years ago. This is not due to philosophizing the term ‘commodity’, but due to the fact that certain factors have to be considered before anything can qualify as a commodity. For instance, a potato can be both a commodity and not a commodity. If the potato is used by the producer, then it is not a commodity.…show more content…
It is common in Central and South America, particularly in Brazil as well as in Africa, especially in Rwanda. Coffee farmers in Rwanda plant the exceptional variety of coffee collectively. It is also very common in Brazil. As the coffee leaves the farm, it can either be sold to processors or marketers. For instance in 1999, Starbucks put 1000 bags of Ipanema bourbon coffee on its shop as a trial. We find that the coffee beans were given a commodity status before leaving the farmers’ stores. This is because we can see value being attached to them. The cost for the over-the-counter bourbon coffee in the Starbucks shops was thrice as high as it was for the local buyers in Brazil (Colitt, 2001). Thus, the Bourbon coffee attains the status of a commodity at the first instance when the farmers sell it to the market. In the case of Starbucks in 1999, the coffee was sold at an estimated $4.00 per pound. The fact that it is made with the aim of the market in mind is what makes a good a commodity. Therefore, without the market, the good would not qualify as a commodity (Wood, 1993). The coffee beans can be described as a commodity from the onset of joining the market.
Coffee does not necessarily go directly to the market. Sometimes it has to undergo some processing stages. Generally, the first step in the processing of coffee is the picking of the ripe fruits and taking them to sell to the processing plant.
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