6

The best example I think is computing. The advent of the personal computer made computing available to the individual. I see the term "commoditization" used in conjunction with the idea, but that seems to focus on the economics, not the idea.

For example literacy used to also be something restricted to a privileged few, but has now become available to the common man. I don't think we would say literacy has become "commoditized" in saying it is now something available to the average person.

  • 5
    The economics are the essence of the process. To become accessible to the common man, it must become affordable. This could be described as reaching a price point that allows mass adoption of the technology/product. Commoditization , on the other hand, has to do with standardization to the point where multple manufacturers can produce a generic version of the product. This does, of course, tend to help bring prices down and facilitate mass acceptance. – Brian Hitchcock Apr 27 '15 at 6:22
  • 1
    A related term used in politics for the idea that wealth is spread from the wealthy to the rest of the economy is called 'trickle-down'. – Mitch Apr 27 '15 at 11:38
  • I think of commoditization as slightly different, as involving the shift from craft, brand or status goods to stuff the consumer regards as interchangeable. That's not the same as caviar being now eaten by the general, as Shakespeare might have said. I prefer "democratisation" per @migs and Tim, though something might perhaps be said for "dissemination" – David Pugh Apr 27 '15 at 12:05
12

From time to time I encounter democratization (Oxford, see def. 2) as a term expressing the spread (the increase of accessibility) of something from a smaller group to a larger one. See related examples below:

Might be applicable.

  • 2
    I would agree that it is frequently used in this way. But that only serves to emphasise the absence of a more specific term. Democracy means government of the whole population. And the universal ownership of fridges and vacuum cleaners, as well as universal literacy, is not directly related to government. – WS2 Apr 27 '15 at 7:48
  • I would tentatively offer demoticisation as a possible candidate.. – WS2 Apr 27 '15 at 7:54
  • @WS2: I think government is one of those concepts can be usefully bent into all kinds of shapes. In a similar way, meritocracy almost never refers to an actual government body in which authority is based on merit. – j_random_hacker Apr 27 '15 at 18:32
8

Democratization

"The action of making something accessible to everyone."

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/democratization

6

A term generally used in economics to denote the degree of availability of something to consumers is accessibility:

  • Extent to which a consumer or user can obtain a good or service at the time it is needed. (www.businessdictionary.com)

Something accessible is something:

  • easily obtained: accessible money.

In the example you are making accessibility to computers has increased a lot (lower prices, higher income etc.) and now a much wider number of consumers can afford to buy one.

4

In business terms you would speak of "commoditization".

It describes the development of a product that was formerly unique and expensive into something that can be distributed on the mass market. My main reference is, to be honest, Wikipedia and my own usage of the word albeit being a non-native speaker.

Wikipedia

I think that this words fits also for the idea of making rather idealistic goods available for the mass market like literature. Literature was for the few because handwritten books were just to expensive for the majority of people. The letterpress changed this, converting Books from handmade artistry into something common. Not the content but the form of distribution changed the availability.

The same applies for cars with Ford's T-Model or Computers with the x86-Platform and creation of an education system made the ability to read a commodity.

  • Welcome to the ELU :-). This is an interesting word, but someone unfamiliar with business terminology (like me) can't asses if it's a good one. Can you provide references? – Lucky Apr 27 '15 at 11:24
-2

Perhaps:

manna

something of value that falls one's way : windfall

The PC became a manna for the common man.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.