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Consumer Choice: Rhetoric and Reality
Consumer choice: Rhetoric and reality

The figure of the consumer occupies a prominent place in contemporary social life, economic analysis, and political rhetoric. Within economic analysis consumption has long been presented as the end or point of production and the interest of the consumer promoted as taking precedence over that of the producer (Smith, 1976[1776]). As J.K. Galbraith noted, within ‘virtually all economic analysis and instruction, the initiative is assumed to lie with the consumer’ (1969: 216). The growth in productive capacity that accompanied the development of industrial capitalist economies in the late nineteenth century and through the twentieth century led to understandable concern being expressed about the need to generate effective consumer demand for the rapidly increasing range and volume ...

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