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.

Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • February 2021
  • 190 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509535378
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509535385
  • Open eBook $19.95
  • 9781509535392
About the Author
Ian Hudson is Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba.
Mark Hudson is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Manitoba.
Show More


“This book invites readers on a lively tour across the terrain of consumption in a briskly paced guide to mainstream economic theory and critical political economy. It is a highly engaging book that will appeal to those wishing to secure a deeper understanding of what it means to consume.”
Bruce Pietrykowski, University of Michigan

"It is a sign of the consumer fetishism that pervades our society that good poiltical-economic works on consumption that do not simply fall prey to their subject matter and that retain a critical perspective are extremely hard to find. This book, though clearly written for classroom use, belongs in the same broad tradition as Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society, Michael Dawson’s The Consumer Trap, and Naomi Klein’s No Logo. Highly recommended."
John Bellamy Foster, author of The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Show More