Consumer-Friendly Production or Producer-Friendly Consumption?
At a time when political parties compete as the champions of consumers against producers, when consumer-friendliness is seen as the chief virtue of any product and cultural theorists celebrate the displacement of production by consumption as the basis of self-identity, it is refreshing to find such an intellectually vigorous challenge to all this in The Market Experience.1 Through a painstaking analysis of the empirical evidence, Robert Lane argues that, at least potentially, the contributions to people’s well-being from engagement in the processes of production are much greater than those deriving from its outputs: the acquisition of income and its deployment in consumption. But if this is so, he suggests, it points to a fundamental defect in the market. Market economies, he argues, are consumer economies: they tend inherently to prioritize consumer-satisfactions over producer-satisfactions. In doing so they sacrifice greater goods for lesser ones.
KeywordsMarket Economy Market Experience Extrinsic Reward Creative Product Capitalist Enterprise
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