Overview

An excellent addition to Routledge’s strong tradition of publishing exceptional books in heterodox economics, this innovative and groundbreaking volume draws on the work of Schumpeter, Marx and Sraffa, three of the most influential economists of all time. It bases value on a single, inwardly felt scarcity, the scarcity of life, which consumers scramble to experience more of through private possession of the product of socially contributed human time-space, in the form of knowledge embodied in commodities. This ...

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Consumer Capitalism

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Overview

An excellent addition to Routledge’s strong tradition of publishing exceptional books in heterodox economics, this innovative and groundbreaking volume draws on the work of Schumpeter, Marx and Sraffa, three of the most influential economists of all time. It bases value on a single, inwardly felt scarcity, the scarcity of life, which consumers scramble to experience more of through private possession of the product of socially contributed human time-space, in the form of knowledge embodied in commodities. This coercive urge, which appears outwardly as ‘commodity fetishism’, sets the context of ‘utility’ and self-interest, implicating consumers in the plunder of each other’s toil and of the earth, showing that capitalistic growth surveys existential distress rather than welfare.



Existential motivational uniformity joins the seemingly disparate individualistic pursuits into a race for growth, while markets promote variety and innovation. Markets assist consumption innovations to blend with Schumpeterian production innovations as consumers try to foresee market conditions and structure their expenditures towards gaining positional advantage. These explain the structural dynamics of increased roundaboutness through adjustment of prices and demand to an evolving techno-structure.



A valuable resource, this book unfolds a new vision of economic theorizing through the extreme basics of agent behaviour.

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Product Details

Table of Contents


List of illustrations     xv
Preface     xvii
Acknowledgements     xix
Part I     1
Theory, society and consumption     3
Motivating observations     5
Real agents as consumers     10
Endogeneity, knowledge and openness     15
Evasive economics     22
Accountability     30
Methodological requirements     38
Critical overview     46
General observations     46
Ostentatious rigorousness     55
Cohesion     60
One-sidedness - evading passions     66
Marx, Marxism and consumption     73
Heterodox thinking     80
Choice and language     85
The life project     89
Economics of angst     98
One original, many derived scarcities     105
Irreversibility     111
An all-encompassing theory?     115
Speculative consumption, value and prices     118
A fine specimen of playful perseverance     130
Part II     133
Production innovations     135
System and analytics     137
System performance     145
Structure and profit-seeking innovations     151
Profitability and efficiency     158
Three indissoluble effects     162
Some general observations     167
Consumption innovations     172
General observations     174
An excursion into two games     185
Speculative demand formation     191
Prices     197
Performance improvement through conflict     202
Restoring symmetry     206
Some issues revisited     214
Growth economies     214
Money wages and the investment-goods ratio     224
Social considerations     230
Epilogue     234
Notes     240
Bibliography     243
Index     251
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