Todd Litman's blog

Is Community Just Another Commodity?

A commodity is something that is normally bought and sold. Not everything is a commodity. Sure, most people need to purchase a certain amount of food, clothing and housing, but many other things that we value are not for sale.

For example, simply purchasing exercise equipment will not make you physically fit – it requires effort. Similarly, health, safety, education, rewarding personal relationships, community and our satisfaction with life are aspirations that depend more on our behavior than on how much we spend.

Comfort Versus Speed


Most people that I know want to act responsibly, but when it comes to daily travel decisions they often choose driving over more resource-efficient but less comfortable and convenient alternative modes, such as walking, cycling and public transportation. As a result, they feel guilty, and communities suffer from problems such as congestion, infrastructure costs, consumer costs, accidents, energy consumption, and pollution emissions.

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