Neologism of the Day: “Consumocracy”

Consumocracy, n. def.:  Short for the “Consumerisation of Politics In Late Capitalist Democracies”. A phenomenon of the 21st Century, particularly affecting readers of the Independent who – considering themselves above Reality TV – choose to pursue democracy instead through a complex  “lifestyle choices” voting system. Typically manifested in the consumption of organic foods, the clothing of small-children in Hessian sacks and holey plastic shoes, and the wiping of their white, middle-class arses on low-acidity, extra-soft, recently-recycled, Forest-Alliance assured, biodegradable  (don’t mistake me, the Indy has many attributes) bum-roll. Knock-on effects include a reinvestment in Northern accents and ancestry by staunch Southerners; the new plushness of Oxfam outlets; the continuing success of alt-Reality TV; and the persistence of Capitalism.



Holey Stupid Shoes Real-ity Democracy (Press the Red Button)Organic Bum-Roll


~ by Wit on August 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Neologism of the Day: “Consumocracy””

  1. Consumocracy is a form of socio-economic organization that is posed in contrast with consumerist capitalism.
    Under consumerist capitalism, it is assumed that market mechanisms are inherently guided by the solicitation of consumers’ individualistic concerns (e.g., safety, accessibility, affordability of products) at the exclusion of other-regarding concerns.
    This dogma however is substantially disproved by conservative efforts to prevent information about products reaching a consumer of those products, e.g. those on genetically modified organisms and work conditions. In response, many empirical phenomena such as social labelling, eco-labelling (among other means of societal marketing), and their use through boycott and buycott have evolved. The increased sophistication of these consumer-sanctioned, regulatory initiatives suggests that a new form of transnational governance is emerging.
    The environmental branch of consumarchy is commonly referred to as Natural Capitalism, and its political branch, as Political consumerism .
    In 1791, an estimated 300,000 British consumers, mainly led by women, had been involved in what is held to be the first consumarchic initiative recorded by historians. They abstained from consuming sugar produced under conditions of slavery and later came to support “free labour” alternatives (Midgley 1992, 1996). The first anti-slavery initiative was the prelude to what has become an increasingly sophisticated mode of regulating corporate behaviour.
    In London and throughout the British Islands, advertisement in support of the “free produce” movement flourished. A typical ad is that of a then sugar refiner: “BENJAMIN TRAVERS acquaints the Publick that he has now an assortment of Loaves, Lumps, Powder Sugar, and Syrup, ready for sale […] produced by the labour of FREEMEN. (Hochschild 2004)
    To date, environmental protection (also understood as the promotion of future generations’ well-being), decent working conditions, as well as the humane treatment of animals are among the spheres toward which the ethical preferences of consumers appear to be heading. Among the most advanced forms of consumarchic devices are the dolphin-safe, fair-trade, child labour free, and forestry (eco)-labelling initiatives.
    A standard feature of this regime is that it provides consumers with the choice of combining, in their purchasing decisions, the final attributes of products (e.g., their price or manufacturing quality) with their procedural attributes (e.g., the conditions under which they are produced). They can in effect select comprehensive outcomes, not just culminative outcomes, of their choice. This further reinforces the transformation of the production system into a purer service economy, as a key service is the actual reporting of the effects of purchasing on others – i.e., the potential victims of consumerism.
    The recent evolution of these systems makes it increasingly easier for consumers to express their concerns for the welfare of others (e.g., humans, other animals, victims of climate change, pollution) through markets. The broader regulation system encompassing the political and economic aspects of these consumers’ responses (cf. ethical consumerism, moral purchasing) is referred to as consumarchy [from consummare (Lat.), to consume, and arkhê (Gr.), command.] or consumocracy [from kratos (Gr.), authority.]
    Consumarchy may therefore be defined as a regulation system within which corporate behaviour is in part subordinated to consumer demand functions obeying both logics of individualism and voluntary solidarity. By giving politically disenchanted consumers the opportunity to exert new authority on enterprises through a more enlightened selection of consumer goods, it may also be viewed as the center of a nascent political economic order [Dumas 2006; Kysar 2004].
    • Dumas, M. (2006). “Consumarchy and Corporate Social Responsibility”, Social Responsibility Journal, December, Volume 2 No 3/4, 308-320.
    • Hochschild, A. (2004). “Against All Odds.” Retrieved January 2006, from
    • Kysar, D. A. (2004). “Preferences for Processes: the Process/Product Distinction and the Regulation of Consumer Choice.” Cornell Law School Legal Studies Research Series.
    • Midgley, C. (1992). Women Against Slavery: The British Campaigns, 1780-1870. London, Routledge.
    • Midgley, C. (1996). “Slave Sugar Boycotts: Female Activism and the Domestic Base of British Anti-Slavery Culture.” Slavery and Abolition 17(3): 137-162.
    See also
    • Austrian School
    • Methodological individualism
    • Consumer sovereignty
    • Marketing orientation
    • Production orientation
    • e-marketing
    • e-democracy
    External links
    • Consumarchy, etc. weblog

  2. Dear Sir

    I wondered if you might like a link to both my Foreign word site and my English word website or press release details of my ensuing book with Penguin Press on amusing and interesting English vocabulary?

    with best wishes

    Adam Jacot de Boinod

    (author of The Meaning of Tingo)


    or wish to include:

    When photographers attempt to bring out our smiling faces by asking us
    to “Say Cheese”, many countries appear to follow suit with English
    equivalents. In Spanish however they say patata (potato), in Argentinian Spanish whisky, in French steak frites, in Serbia ptica (bird) and in
    Danish appelsin (orange). Do you know of any other varieties from around the world’s languages? See more on


    The Wonder of Whiffling is a tour of English around the globe (with fine
    coinages from our English-speaking cousins across the pond, Down Under
    and elsewhere).
    Discover all sorts of words you’ve always wished existed but never knew,
    such as fornale, to spend one’s money before it has been earned; cagg, a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; and
    petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a
    dry spell.
    Delving passionately into the English language, I also discover why it
    is you wouldn’t want to have dinner with a vice admiral of the narrow
    seas, why Jacobites toasted the little gentleman in black velvet, and
    why a Nottingham Goodnight is better than one from anywhere else. See
    more on

    with best wishes


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