This book reinterprets the rise of consumerism in terms of interaction between Europe and China 1400-1800.

In particular, it examines the intellectual foundations of consumerism in food, dress, shelter, utilities, information and symbolism. It highlights consumerism as an expression of both rationality and freedom and indicates the constructive role it has played in the formation of the modern world. Particular use is made of comparisons between developments in Europe and China to differentiate both.

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