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Abstract

The notion of commodification refers to the degree to which the individual is dependent upon the market for the satisfaction of his economic and social needs. The welfare state has been described as having a decommodifying influence in that it provides the individual with the means to maintain a reasonable standard of living while not working. An examination of the Israeli Kibbutz is undertaken in order to understand the workings of an extreme case of decommodification. In Kibbutzim, there exists a very highly developed system of welfare services that arc determined by individual needs and not by individual earning power. While the nature of these communities clearly prevent direct comparisons with the welfare state, the very fact that such highly decommodified societies have existed for over seven decades should shed light on the debate over the degree to which states can intervene with the play of market forces.

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