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Consumption as a Social Process within Social Provisioning and Capitalism: Implications for Heterodox Economics

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  • Todorova, Zdravka

Abstract

The article discusses consumption as a social process that is a part of social provisioning and is in an evolutionary interplay with other social processes. The discussion is grounded in, but is not limited to the contributions of Thorstein Veblen. The first section delineates social provisioning as a framework for consumption inquiry. This section emphasizes that social provisioning is a part of collective life process embedded in culture and nature, and that it is comprised by two general sets of activities – those motivated by money and those that are not motivated by making money. The second section delineates features of capitalism as a system, so that it provides a social context for consumption inquiry. The third section formulates a categorization of social processes, one of which is the consumption process. Further, the section delineates the meaning and components of the concepts: social activities, institutions, and habits of life and thought. The fourth section applies these concepts to consumption social process in the specific context of capitalism. The section discusses consumption activities; institutions and systems of provision; and habits of life and thought – illustrating with examples obtained from various disciplines. The section introduces “gated consumption” as an example of a habit of life and thought. It is argued that the formulated analysis transcends the cultural-material dualism. Finally, the article draws implications of the offered analysis, concluding that the category of “consumers” is of little use to heterodox economics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 51516.

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Date of creation: 08 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:51516

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Keywords: Consumption Process; Social Process; Institutions; Consumption Activities; Social Provisioning; Habits of Life and Thought; Heterodox Economics; Class; Thorstein Veblen;

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  1. Steven Pressman & Robert H. Scott, 2009. "Who are the Debt Poor?," Journal of Economic Issues, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 43(2), pages 423-432, June.
  2. Douglas Bowles, 2013. "Toward an Integrated Theory of Social Stratification," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(1), pages 32-58, 01.
  3. Tae‐Hee Jo, 2011. "Social Provisioning Process and Socio‐Economic Modeling," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(5), pages 1094-1116, November.
  4. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
  5. Frederic S. Lee & Tae-Hee Jo, 2011. "Social Surplus Approach and Heterodox Economics," Journal of Economic Issues, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 45(4), pages 857-876, December.
  6. Marc Lavoie, 1994. "A Post Keynesian Approach to Consumer Choice," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 16(4), pages 539-562, July.
  7. Marilyn Power, 2004. "Social Provisioning As A Starting Point For Feminist Economics," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 3-19.
  8. S. Charusheela, 2010. "Gender and the stability of consumption: a feminist contribution to post-Keynesian economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(6), pages 1145-1156.
  9. Asena Caner & Edward N. Wolff, . "Asset Poverty in The United States: Its Persistence in an Expansionary Economy," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_76, Levy Economics Institute.
  10. Robert W. Parenteau, 2006. "U.S. Household Deficit Spending: A Rendezvous with Reality," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_88, Levy Economics Institute.
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