Consumer Sovereignty

  • Simon Mohun


Consumer sovereignty, first described as such in 1936, and loosely defined by Lerner in the above quotation, is a concept fundamental to modern economic theory and yet discussed little. As a fundamental concept, it is both simple and complex: simple, because it seems self-evidently reasonable; complex because it is part of both ‘positive economics’ and ‘normative economics’—complex also because it straddles both economic theory and political theory, consumer sovereignty describes for the bourgeois economist both the motivation for production and the axiomatic starting point for its analysis, both the purpose of production and a justification for that production. The purpose of this chapter is to disentangle these various themes, and in so doing to consider consumer sovereignty as one of the fundamental concepts of bourgeois ideology.


Public Good Competitive Equilibrium Price Mechanism Capitalist Production Capitalist Society 
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  1. 1.
    Abba P. Lerner,‘The Economics and Politics of Consumer Sovereignty’, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings (1972) p. 258.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Karl Marx, Capital (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1938) vol. 1, p. 155.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Karl Marx, The Revolutions of 1848. Political Writings, Vol. 1, ed. David Fernback (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 81.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sam Aaronovitch, Bettina Berch, Monika Beutel, Ben Fine, Andrew Glyn, Francis Green, Laurence Harris, Sue Himmelweit, Rhys Jenkins, Simon Mohun, Petter Nore, Bob Sutcliffe 1977

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  • Simon Mohun

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