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Nature General

The Limits to Satisfaction

An Essay on the Problem of Needs and Commodities

by (author) William Leiss

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 1988
General, Consumer Behavior
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 1988
    List Price

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Consumerism and capitalist and socialist industry have reached the point where state power is legitimatized by its ability to increase the number of commodities. A unique culture has been created in which marketing is the main social bond. Values no longer shape and condition needs, wants, desires, or preferences. Leiss draws on economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology to show the vagueness of our thought on the relation between nature and culture, desire and reason, needs and commodities. This book raises serious, vital questions for all those concerned about the future of our present society.

About the author

William Leiss is a fellow and past president of the Royal Society of Canada, an officer of the Order of Canada, and professor emeritus at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. He is the author of several books, including Mad Cows and Mother’s Milk: The Perils of Poor Risk Communication.

William Leiss' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Leiss gives consistency to...a new discipline that challenges the monopoly of economics over social policy. But he does more: he radicalises the concept of ecology." Ivan Illich, Manchester Guardian "Leiss critically examines the bogus issue of false vs. true needs and shows that Critical Theory, Western Marxism and most radical sociology have been misguided in posing the question in this fashion...It is clearly written, well documented, brilliantly argued. A refreshing break from vacuous sociologese." Paul Piccone, Theory and Society