Has consumer culture got out of hand? Are the costs of universal access and pollution too great to bear?This comprehensive, lively and informative book will quickly be recognized as a benchmark in the field. It brings together a huge set of resources for thinking about consumer culture and examining its origins and consequences within a global context. Adept in handling a complex range of theories, Consumer Society scrupulously uses examples throughout to inform and enhance understanding. Smart writes with verve and feeling and has produced a book that simultaneously covers and enlarges our understanding of consumer culture. Clear, engaging and original, this book will be important reading for all those interested in our global culture of consumption including students of sociology, social geography and cultural studies.

An Unsustainable All-Consuming World

An unsustainable all-consuming world

Economic growth has meant raised levels of productivity and has made possible the consumer lifestyles enjoyed by a global consumer class of around 2 billion people. Over the course of the twentieth century global economic output grew 18-fold and in the period 1950–2005 the total value of all goods and services produced around the world, based on purchasing power parity, increased from US$7 trillion to US$61 trillion (Gardner and Prugh, 2008: 8; see also Mygatt, 2006). Consumer expenditure on goods and services by private households increased four-fold in the period 1960–2000 rising from US$4.8 trillion to US$20 trillion (Gardner et al., 2004: 5). However, the consumer way of life, which has become second nature to those who participate ...

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