The biggest problem with commercialisation (in most situations) is what is being commercialised. Engaging in commerce is a part of life, and will continue to remain so. However, today the idea of something being commercialised is equivalent to it being an insult in itself. Let’s see why, and whether it makes sense.
Commercialisation would not be an insult if the entities/products sold at a mass level, were not bought by the masses, and earn for the classes, at the same time be a subject of revulsion for them. This hypocrisy is one we all recognise, and may be a part of as well. There are people who would not appreciate a magazine cover with a scanty-ly dressed woman. But then that would not be aesthetic to many.
The case is same with Coca Cola which might be questionable to health, but is yet represented with an appeal. The question behind this dichotomy is whether it is the masses that demand such products, which the producers merely provide as a distant and alienated entity? Or, is this demand farcically created to keep the masses in the position of dumb-driven sheep? The question is like the egg, and the chicken, and we do not know what caused today’s endless loop.
But most definitely there are things that start from a good idea, become popular, and earn a high revenue. In this process it gets commercialised, and many times blows out of proportion. Then it ends up being bought merely out of popularity, and not due to its real cause.
Why? Because then these products represent a ‘cool image’, of what a person who cares about good ideas would do. This changes the intention of the purchase. But a purchase never determines anybody’s character. This is the ill effect of commercialisation often giving it a bad name.
The case is similar for quinoa. The relatively inexpensive grain from South America (especially Peru), can be compared to Maharashtra’s traditional pearl millet (bajra) – both foods originally set at low prices for the local people. However, quinoa’s boom in popularity has caused a surge of 600% in its retail value since 2000, and more than triple since 2007. The situation worsens as quinoa farmers can no longer afford the grain. Slowly and slowly it is getting similar to the situation of yoga practitioners who do not know what ‘yoga’/’om’ means, and cocoa farmers who do not know what chocolate tastes like.
Now products like quinoa and pearl millet earn massive revenues, since they have been re-marketed as an elite product, which would be consumed by someone who cares about a healthy lifestyle, and not sold as a farmer’s food. The tragedy of commercialisation is that it mindlessly convinces you to engage in certain purchases. Post-commercialisation, eating quinoa or doing yoga wouldn’t contribute to your health any less if you did not know what it stood for. But it only shows what you stand for. Mindlessly engaging in it, would be for the wrong reasons, and at high prices.
Whereas a product wouldn’t need re-marketing if a majority just understood something is good for them. But of course, not everyone does. Most definitely not me all the time. We like a beautiful human on a magazine front page, convincing us that eating right is good. Listening to them would not even be wrong, if we do our homework. So here is why and how commercialisation exists – not everyone will do their homework. Thus, products will be pumped in the market, written about in the most fancy coffee table books, until a majority is convinced.
So commercialisation can be seen as wrong, if the profit seeking motive is not parallel to the idea of a better world. The intention behind most produce comes from commerce – to sell, earn, and further that product. And many times it’s not for capital, but to further an idea/purpose. So the difference between good or bad commercialisation can be seen in the way your product answers the following question-
Are you selling a product? A purpose? Or both.
In my eyes, both would be great commercialisation for you, and the world.