How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole
Consumed offers a portrait of how adults are infantilised in a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers. Driven by a frantic imperative to sell, consumer capitalism specialises today in the manufacture not of goods but of needs.
This provocative culmination of Benjamin R. Barber's lifelong study of democracy and capitalism shows how the infantilist ethos deprives society of responsible citizens and displaces public goods with private commodities. Traditional liberal democratic society is colonised by an all-pervasive market imperative. Barber confronts the likely consequences for our children, our freedom and our citizenship, and shows how citizens can resist and transcend the civic schizophrenia with which consumerism has infected them.
"... [an] engaged and important antidote to the platitudes of the times."
The Times Higher Education Supplement
"In this new book the author of Jihad vs. McWorld offers a depressing thesis on why global corporations seek to make us childlike consumers-and why we collude."
"Grown-ups have sunk into what the French call a puériculture and kids are being trained as hyper-consumers from toddlerhood."
Judith Woods, The Daily Telegraph
"Consumerism, in Barber's view exploits the unsophisticated and voracious demands of children and makes adults emulate them."
Rafael Behr, The Observer
"Benjamin Barber fears that this process of infantilisation... threatens democracy."
Chris Petit, The Guardian
"Professor Barber is someone worth listening to."
April 2008 • Paper • £12.99 • ISBN 978 0 393 33089 2 • 416pp • 140 x 210mm