The Aesthetics of
Consumption

If you ask a philosopher about the aesthetics of
consumption, you will probably not get an answer. However,
if you ask a marketing executive or a business psychologist,
you will get lots of answers. And that is the problem.
 That behaviour in post-industrial society is largely governed
by aesthetic considerations is no secret. There is a reason
why, in places of the world of wealth and extreme weather,
shopping malls are enclosed, quiet and evenly lighted. There
is a reason why new cars come along with a new car smell.
There is a reason why flat-screened televisions and slinky
smart phones have proven so popular. Society is ‘governed’
by the control of aesthetic experiences and associations. But
who is doing the governing and the controlling? How are
they doing it?
 There are sociologists and anthropologists of consumption
today. And they are doing important work. One of these days
I hope to catch up on that work and see how it can be
applied to fields like literary studies. I have myself already
begun work of this sort with regard to food service and
restaurants in two of my books. Hopefully I will soon be able
to add a few non-blog blogs here about the aesthetics of
consumption.
 Meanwhile, I just want to ask the question: why aren’t any
philosophers, at least in the English-speaking world, talking
about this? For the issue of the aesthetics of consumption is
not just about ‘things’; it is also about moral choice and
freedom.