Consumption used to be a disease. Now it is the dominant manner in which most people meet their most basic needs and – if they can afford the price – their wildest desires.
In this new book, Ian and Mark Hudson critically examine how consumption has been understood in economic theory before analyzing its centrality to our social lives and function in contemporary capitalism. They also outline the consequences it has for people and nature, consequences routinely made invisible in the shopping mall or online catalogue. Hudson and Hudson show, in an approachable manner, how patterns of consumption are influenced by cultures, individual preferences and identity formation before arguing that underlying these determinants is the unavoidable need within capitalism to realize profit.
This accessible and comprehensive book will be essential reading for students and scholars of political economy, economics and economic sociology, as well as any reader who wants to confront their own practices of consumption in a meaningful way.