Prosperity for All
Consumer Activism in an Era of Globalization
By (author) Matthew Hilton
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Prosperity for All by Matthew Hilton
Book DescriptionThe history of consumerism is about much more than just shopping. Ever since the eighteenth century, citizen-consumers have protested against the abuses of the market by boycotting products and promoting fair instead of free trade. In recent decades, consumer activism has responded to the challenges of affluence by helping to guide consumers through an increasingly complex and alien marketplace. In doing so, it has challenged the very meaning of consumer society and tackled some of the key economic, social, and political issues associated with the era of globalization. In Prosperity for All, the first international history of consumer activism, Matthew Hilton shows that modern consumer advocacy reached the peak of its influence in the decades after World War II. Growing out of the product-testing activities of Consumer Reports and its international counterparts (including Which? in the United Kingdom, Que Choisir in France, and Test in Germany), consumerism evolved into a truly global social movement. Consumer unions, NGOs, and individual activists like Ralph Nader emerged in countries around the world-including developing countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America-concerned with creating a more equitable marketplace and articulating a politics of consumption that addressed the needs of both individuals and society as a whole. Consumer activists achieved many victories, from making cars safer to highlighting the dangers of using baby formula instead of breast milk in countries with no access to clean water. The 1980s saw a reversal in the consumer movement's fortunes, thanks in large part to the rise of an antiregulatory agenda both in the United States and internationally. In the process, the definition of consumerism changed, focusing more on choice than on access. As Hilton shows, this change reflects more broadly on the dilemmas we all face as consumers: Do we want more stuff and more prosperity for ourselves, or do we want others less fortunate to be able to enjoy the same opportunities and standard of living that we do? Prosperity for All makes clear that by abandoning a more idealistic vision for consumer society we reduce consumers to little more than shoppers, and we deny the vast majority of the world's population the fruits of affluence.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801475078
(235mm x 156mm x 18mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 8-Jan-2009
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Matthew Hilton
Politics of Expertise, Hardback (April 2013)
Offers a challenging new interpretation of politics in contemporary Britain through an examination of non-governmental organisations. Demonstrate how politics and political activism has changed over the last half century.
Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain, Hardback (July 2012)
Aiming to furnish the reader with the historical data to engage with the debates surrounding the Cameron government's 'Big Society' and civil society, this book gives the reader a greater and more informed historical consciousness of how the NGO sector has grown and influenced.
Ages of Voluntarism, Paperback (August 2011)
This book provides the historical background to the rise of the Big Society. Voluntarism has evolved over the last hundred years to adapt to changing circumstances, drawing up new agendas, tackling old problems, and acting as an alternative to state provision and as a catalyst for further government action.
NGOs in Contemporary Britain, Hardback (April 2009)» View all books by Matthew Hilton
Examining the history of social movements and non-state socio-political action, this volume shows how Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have proliferated in Britain since 1945, and how they have raised new political agendas, revived associational life, and arguably re-politicized generations disillusioned with the politics of the ballot box.
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