Commodity Chain Analysis Essay

Consumption is an important domain of social life. Consumption is defined as individuals’ autonomous decisions in light of personal self-interest by the economist. However, Consumption is more than just the purchase of things. According to Campbell (1995, p. 101) consumption implies ‘the selection, purchase, use, maintenance, repair and disposal of any given product or service’. That is, consumption involves ‘bundle of social relations’ (Watts, 1999). Warde (2010) by extension adds that consumption is the process of acquisition, appropriation and appreciation of goods, services and experiences over which the consumer has some measure of control. Similar to broad meaning of consumption, commodity, which is the basic unit of consumption, means…

Tracing commodity chain will enable us to understand the flow of goods more precisely (Leslie and Reimer, 1999). Each part of the process, from design through production, distribution and consumption, represents a discrete link in the chain. A pair of denim jeans can be a simple example of the commodity chain. On the process of finished products, the process may start at growing cotton in India. Then, those cottons will be sent to China to be woven into denim fabric, sewn into a garment in Mexico, and finally sent to the United States as the finished goods to be sold by a clothing retailer (Grossman-Thompson and Lake, 2012). Like this, conceptualising such phases is the notion of the commodity chain. Here is another simple example. Coe and Kelly (2007) exemplify the simplified commodity chain for our daily breakfast, illustrating the transformation for initial raw materials into final outputs in the form of consumable foodstuffs. To be specific, this transformation includes core activities such as production, marketing, delivery and service and support activities like merchandising, technology, finance, human resources, and overall infrastructure. In other words, the commodity chain is not only manufacturing processes. In producing commodities, the adding value is made at each stage of the various corporate activities (Coe and Yeung, 2007). According to Weiss (see 1996, cited in Leslie and Reimer, 1999, p.410-411), ‘producers can also be consumers: the differing trajectories of [shoes] as valued object demonstrate the difficulties of neatly distinguishing between producers and consumers and suggest that the connection between production and consumption is less a clear-cut sequence in economic practice than a multi-stranded and reflexive cultural…