Technology and globalisation: who gains when commodities are de-commodified?

Raphael Kaplinsky, Robert Fitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Like many primary products, coffee has long been characterised as a commodity with falling terms of trade and volatile prices. Yet, in recent years, there has been growing product differentiation in final markets, with premium prices being earned and high and sustainable incomes being provided. So far, these product rents have been almost entirely appropriated by residents of high-income economies. However, to the extent that growers can learn to improve their product through the systematic application of knowledge throughout the value chain, and consumers are taught to recognise that product variety and quality are determined in the growing rather than the roasting stage of the chain, an alternative outcome is possible. This paper outlines the necessary knowledge flows and concludes with an assessment of who needs to do what if this more favourable outcome for growers is to be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-28
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Globalisation
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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Globalization
Commodities
Income
Residents
Rent
Value chain
Product differentiation
Coffee
Product variety
Price premium
Terms of trade
Knowledge flow
Product quality

Keywords

  • coffee
  • commodities
  • value chain, income distribution
  • terms of trade
  • structural adjustment policies

Cite this

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abstract = "Like many primary products, coffee has long been characterised as a commodity with falling terms of trade and volatile prices. Yet, in recent years, there has been growing product differentiation in final markets, with premium prices being earned and high and sustainable incomes being provided. So far, these product rents have been almost entirely appropriated by residents of high-income economies. However, to the extent that growers can learn to improve their product through the systematic application of knowledge throughout the value chain, and consumers are taught to recognise that product variety and quality are determined in the growing rather than the roasting stage of the chain, an alternative outcome is possible. This paper outlines the necessary knowledge flows and concludes with an assessment of who needs to do what if this more favourable outcome for growers is to be realised.",
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Technology and globalisation: who gains when commodities are de-commodified? / Kaplinsky, Raphael; Fitter, Robert.

In: International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2004, p. 5-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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