Is commodification bad ?

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The world as shopping awaits you.

At Providence Place Mall

Even presuming that commodification is as complete as the critics say, is it really a bad thing? People need housing and entertainment, so why shouldn't places become commodities?

The most blatant negative effects of commodification come when reasons for building are subordinated to considerations of profit and capital flow. We are all familiar with the devastation caused by outsized or inappropriate buildings or developments that suddenly disrupt a community, or suddenly are abandoned, because the tides of capital have turned. Local ways of shaping places can be pushed aside, or mutated into loud imitations of themselves. Places as commodities are simplified for quick recognition and persuasion. Form and meanings weaken as surface effects become primary, and we begin to view all places as items to be collected and consumed.

In a commodity culture we can be manipulated into wanting only the presented options. We are turned away from our potential to become more actively self-creating members of a self-legislating community, just as our eyes are averted from those areas of our world without abundance and freedom. Our passivity is hidden by a shallow busyness concealing a loss of public space and public participation.