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Social Opulence and Private RestraintThe Consumer in British Socialist Thought Since 1800$
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Noel Thompson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646012.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 July 2021

Retrospect and Prospect

Retrospect and Prospect

(p.195) 7 Retrospect and Prospect
Social Opulence and Private Restraint

Noel Thompson

Oxford University Press

This chapter is in effect an extended conclusion. It summarizes the major themes that characterize the socialist critique of the consumer and consumerism over two centuries. But it also highlights the work of those who took a more positive view of both and who sought to show the contribution that consumption could make to creating and sustaining the good society. The chapter also identifies and discusses certain common themes running through two centuries of socialist writing and shows how discussion of the consumer and consumption related to and helped shape the particular priorities of different genres of socialist thinking. The chapter concludes by taking one of the core central and common themes of the socialist political economy of the period—social opulence—and considers whether and how it might have purchase on some of humanity’s most pressing contemporary challenges.

Keywords:   consumer, consumption, socialism, social opulence, restraint, ageing, environment

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