Consuming with a conscience is one of the fastest growing forms of political participation worldwide. Every day we make decisions about how to spend our money and, for the socially conscious, these decisions matter. Political consumers “buy green” for the environment or they “buy pink” to combat breast cancer. They boycott Taco Bell to support migrant workers or Burger King to save the rainforest.
But can we overcome the limitations of consumer identity, the conservative pull of consumer choice, co-optation by corporate marketers, and other pitfalls of consumer activism in order to marshal the possibilities of consumer power? Can we, quite literally, shop for change?
Shopping for Change brings together historical and contemporary perspectives of academics and activists to show readers what has been possible for consumer activists in the past and what might be possible for today’s consumer activists.
About the authors
Louis Hyman is an associate professor of history at the ILR School of Cornell University, the co-founder of Cornell’s History of Capitalism Initiative, and the incoming director of ILR’s Institute for Workplace Studies in New York City. He is the author of Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink and Borrow: The American Way of Debt.
Joseph Tohill writes about and teaches twentieth-century American and Canadian history, including the history of public policy, consumer politics, and consumer activism, at York University and Ryerson University.
Shopping for change leaves us thinking deeply about who is responsible, and who should be held accountable, for creating a more suitable future.
Quill & Quire