The Economics of Abundance

The Economics of Abundance

Affluent Consumption and the Global Economy

New Directions in Modern Economics series

Brendan Sheehan

This book addresses the challenge posed by J.K. Galbraith over 50 years ago to make a constructive contribution to a different style of economic analysis – the economics of abundance. It identifies a system of abundance inhabited by the ‘people of plenty’ and illustrates that the driver of growth in this system is spending by affluent consumers. This timely book provides essential heterodox economic theory to explain this spending and explore its key drivers and constraints.

Preface

Brendan Sheehan

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, institutional economics

Extract

It is always easier to be critical than creative, just as it is easier to follow than to lead. This book is unambiguously positive in character. It faces up to the challenge posed by John Kenneth Galbraith over 50 years ago in order to make a constructive contribution to a different style of economic analysis – the economics of abundance. The starting point for this book began with the realisation that mainstream and heterodox economists – with some honourable exceptions – had little to offer to the explanation of spending by affluent consumers. Other disciplines have taken the topic much more seriously, but with perhaps insufficient appreciation of the general market form in the system of abundance. Certainly it is true that for far too long, non-economists have had to rely on the works of Thorstein Veblen and J.K. Galbraith to provide economic insights on affluent consumption. Consequently I embarked upon an autodidactic multi-disciplinary process, criss-crossing over existing academic boundaries, to read extensively how other disciplines dealt with affluent consumption by, and marketing messages targeted towards, the people of plenty. I engaged with seminal contributions produced by a variety of academics that have changed the way other disciplines think about affluent consumption, which sadly go unrecognised by the economics profession. Hopefully I have been able to extract some of the best of what other disciplines have had to offer in order to develop a distinctive heterodox economic perspective. Economists of all persuasions should be intrigued by the content of the book. The likelihood,...