How many worldly goods are there here!
How beauteous commodities are! O brave new world
That has such consumers in't!
Although consumption takes place in all human cultures, it is only in the present century that consumption on a truly mass scale has begun to appear as a foundational, rather than merely epiphenomenal, characteristic of society. Where there is subsistence production, there will be subsistence consumption: all that is produced is consumed without remainder, and such items as food and clothing appear entirely plain and functional. It is unlikely, however, that such a minimalist society could exist under anything other than extreme conditions. Production generally implies more than subsistence, and the question of a ...