People vs objects – what should we choose

Western society though highly commercialized and monetized, also has a unique cultural entity based on a set of conditioned predispositions. Western culture separatepeople from things and consider people as a natural reserve of individuation i.e.singularization, and things as a reserve of commoditization.

In many parts of the world, people are considers to be the best and supreme of all. However, when it comes to materialistic objects, we get confuse on what to choose. Debates on slavery and the victory of its abolition, has raised moral concerns in the West over commoditization of human attributes like labour, intellect or creativity, and more recently human organs, female reproductive capacity and the female ova. Both Marx and Pope Leo XIII were of the notion that human labour should not be treated as a mere commodity. In most of the Western liberal societies, adoption of a baby is illegal, if the natural parents are given monetary compensation in return as it denotes commoditization of the baby.This is the focus point from which the abortion and anti-abortion laws permeate. It considers things and not persons which can be aborted; the reason why anti-abortionists attempt to ritualize the disposal of the aborted foetus as this ritual presumes personhood.

Commoditization in west 

Western culture though defends the human sphere against commoditization, does get responsive to the pressures of it, with the development of technology and increasing secularization. For example – commoditization of labour is allowed if it is controlled by the labourer himself. The role of human reproduction is one area in which distinction between people and things is difficult to define. Legal and technological innovations have benefited childless couples, and single parenthood with ideas of surrogate motherhood, and the sale and purchase of the ova and sperm. However, theologians and ethicists consider it immoral or as impropriety.


Commoditization depends on the exchange technology, advancement of the monetary system and the cultural homogeneity or heterogeneity of societies at a particular time.In small scale and uncommercialized societies, commoditization was contained by inadequate exchange technology and the absence of a well-developed monetary system. On the other hand, in complex societies sophisticated exchange technology and well developed monetary systems have led to rampant commoditization, monetizing almost every aspect of human existence. In small scale societies a person’s social identity is stable, and cultural rules change them normally and not biographically. However, in complex societies a person’s social identities are numerous and are also conflicting. There is no clear hierarchy and often the person’s identity is determined biographically. Clashes in the biographies and social structures, hence cause uncertainty of identity in individuals.

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