"In 1900, many reformers looked for answers to questions about social reform, social responsibility, and consumer representation. Climate change is its own monumental challenge, but there may be lessons that can be learned from that earlier history of the consumer. Consumers were identified as important players in tackling social blight and economic injustice. As buyers, they had some influence over what was produced, its quality as well as quantity. Organizing their interests added an important voice to the arena of public politics. These remain valuable insights: Consumers may not hold the answers for everything, but that does not mean they should be treated as merely individual shoppers in the market."
Frank Trentmann at The Atlantic discusses "How Humans Became 'Consumers.'"