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By Kaj Illomen

Kaj Ilmonen was once a pioneer within the 3rd wave of the sociology of intake. This book provides a balanced assessment of the sociology of intake, arguing that the keenness of 'the 3rd wave' exaggerated the function of the symbolic and imaginary on the cost of the materiality of human societies.

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Klein 2000). Rather than upholding freedom of exchange, these economies are imposing a necessity of exchange: in order to live people have no option but to sell their labour power. The workings of the modern global economy, its ‘China (or India or Brazil) phenomenon’, structural unemployment and monopolistic tendencies all go to show just how far removed Friedman’s thinking is from economic reality, and was so even in the 1980s. Even then, he was unable to justify the linkage between markets and freedom, on the one hand, and the state and coercion, on the other.

Since the symbolic value of fashion items falls very rapidly, the same applies to its economic value, even if there are no changes in its technical/functional qualities. Collectibles follow the exact opposite path. Even if they have no remaining productive functions and their technical/functional qualities continue to decline, their value just keeps rising. The multiple dimensions of commodity, and by the same token, of consumption, are reflected in the consumer’s position through the various stages of the consumption event.

Indd 21 11/3/2010 1:38:34 AM A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption Mirandola, Niccolo Machiavelli, Giambattista Vico, Claude Adrien Helvetius and Thomas Hobbes (see Sahlins 2000, 535–537). 10 ‘Positive’ or personal freedom means more or less the same as what nowadays is called empowerment. It is the ability to lead one’s life according to one’s own views and values, to be the captain of one’s life, to be an agent who can always choose to do otherwise. However, this notion of freedom must not be favoured because neo-liberalism says it may give rise to opposition against the current type of market economy and to a critical attack on society.

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