Capitalism and the ‘commercial determinants of health’: a more-than-human micropolitics

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Abstract

This paper argues that studies of the ‘commercial determinants of health’ (CDoH) need to acknowledge fully the part the capitalist mode of commodity production and exchange plays in producing negative health outcomes. This proposition is supported by recourse to a recent development in political economy that has established a more-than-human, relational and monist (or ‘flat’) ontology of capitalism, in place of the more conventional neo-Marxist perspective. This ontology reveals a dynamic to capitalism that operates beyond human intentionality, driven by the supply of, and demand for the capacities of commodities. This dynamic determines the production and consumption of all commodities, some among which (such as tobacco, alcohol and processed foods) contribute to ill-health. A case study of food consumption reveals how these supply and demand affects drive ‘unhealthy’ food choices by consumers. Ways to undermine this more-than-human dynamic are offered as an innovative approach to addressing the effects of commerce and capitalism upon health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116925
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume350
Early online date7 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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