Society essay 1 | Article writing homework help

1,000 words or more of narrative text; no maximum word count.

Double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font; in-text citations; references section;

Chicago, MLA, or APA format.

Global Commodity Chains & Negative Externalities

The worldwide network of social relations and labor activities involved in the creation, distribution, consumption, and disposal of a commodity

Social relations: labor, capitalists, nation-states, and consumers; society/nature

Labor activities: product design and financing; capture/extraction/cultivation of raw materials; processing; transportation; distribution/sale; purchase/consumption; and disposal

Impacts: socioeconomic, political, environmental


Global culture of capitalism/global commodity chains

Karl Polanyi’s Paradox

Negative externalities

Internalizing negative externalities

Example: “The coffee commodity chainis the linked sequence of activities involved in growing coffee, processing it, shipping it, roasting it, … selling it to consumers” (John Talbot) and disposing it.

Video example: Coffee (Links to an external site.)

Scroll down for more examples of global commodity chains and for negative 



Choose either a specific commodity or some aspect of a commodity chain (such as its labor and/or ownership/control conditions; social, economic, environmental, and/or health consequences; political violence/wars; etc.).

Emphasize relationships and activities of labor, capitalists, nation-states, consumers, and the natural environment.

Culture of capitalist/global commodity chains

Karl Polanyi’s Paradox

Negative externalities

Challenges of internalizing externalities (= “sustainability”)

Approximately 750-1000 words of narrative text; college standards of writing; enforcement of penalties for plagiarism

Double-spaced 11 or 12-point Times New Roman font; in-text citations; references section; Chicago, MLA, or APA format.

Due via on Canvas by the date and time listed on syllabus. Late papers will not be accepted

If you want to focus on Covid-19 (or any other “signature” disease):

What is the global culture of capitalism? What is “Karl Polanyi’s Paradox”? What are “global commodity chains”? What are “negative externalities”? What are examples of each within the global culture of capitalism?

What are the basic questions to ask about patterns of disease at any point in time and space?

Describe the relationships between (1) culture and disease; (2) cities and disease; (3) environmental change and disease; and (4) human ecology and disease.

What defines a “signature disease” of a specific historical time and pattern of geographic connections? How is Covid-19 an example of a signature disease? 

What are arguments–including the relevance of “Karl Polanyi’s Paradox”, “global commodity chains,” and “negative externalities”– for healthcare as a global public good (and as a human right), as opposed to healthcare as an individual, commodified choice?

Global Commodity Chain Examples (see also course syllabus)

  • “The Palm Oil Effect” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Commodifying Nature” (Links to an external site.)

  • “’Food Chains’ Looks at The Real Cost of Your Cheap Tomatoes” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Migrant Workers in U.S. Seafood Industry” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Factory Farms: Animal Cruelty, Labor Exploitation” (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

  • “Exploited Indian Child Cotton Workers” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Bangladesh Factory Fire and Workers” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Ugly Beautiful? Counting the Cost of the Global Fashion Industry” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Domestic Workers Abuse/Exploitation” (Links to an external site.)

  • “Janitorial Workers Abuse/Exploitation” (Links to an external site.)

  • “The World’s Trash Crisis, and Why Americans Are Oblivious” (Links to an external site.)

The Concept of Externalities

  1. Overview

Internalizing negative externalities (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

Cost internalization = (more or less) sustainablity (Links to an external site.)

  1. Negative externalities

Vehicles/driving (Links to an external site.)

Garbage (Links to an external site.)

Internalizing externalities: The case of garbage (Links to an external site.)

Suburban lawns (Links to an external site.)

Chemical industries (Links to an external site.)

Fracking (Links to an external site.)

Palm oil (Links to an external site.)

Industrial agriculture (Links to an external site.)

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