Ethical consumerism as self-exclusion

Another really provocative idea from Rethinking Social Exclusion by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall. From pg 126:

This supposedly ethical process of distancing oneself from vulgar commercialism is a variant of self-exclusion from the social; like it or not, these non-places come closest to representing the actuality of contemporary British life. There is no more ‘reality’ or ‘authenticity’ to be found in the charity shop or the ethnic café than in a branch of Tesco or Starbucks. Capitalism is not threatened by our desire to buy fair trade coffee or locally sourced fruit and vegetables. In fact these new niche markets are exactly what contemporary capitalism needs to present itself as heterogeneous and democratic, the principal ideological strategy that ensures its acceptability, continuity and growth by maintaining the practical allegiance of those who still credit themselves as having values over and above it.

I’d add a further question to this: what are the temporal preconditions for this activity? How much time, energy and knowledge are required in order to identify these opportunities for self-exclusion and to act on them?

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