Article

Consumer Society

Yanrui Wu

in Chinese Studies

ISBN: 9780199920082
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199920082-0050
Consumer Society

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Since the economic reforms beginning in 1978 and the “open door” policy that followed, consumer society in China has attracted the attention of academia. Before that, under Maoist socialism, consumerism was ideologically regarded as bourgeois and was generally suppressed. Individuals’ preferences gave way to the state providing subsistence living standards (food rationing, free housing, and so on). Since 1978, under the slogan of “getting rich is glorious,” tens of millions of Chinese households have become affluent. Chinese consumers now wish to satisfy their individual wants and have the means to do so. In addition, with expanded international trade, communications, and tourism, Chinese consumers are well informed and have access not only to local products but also to well-known international brands. As a result, household consumption is booming and consumerism has become fashionable. Within a short period of time a consumer society emerged in the world’s most populous nation, in what is generally regarded as a consumer revolution in China. With the Chinese economy now the second largest in the world, and anticipated to overtake the United States in the near future, China’s consumer society is reshaping the country and has a global influence.

Article.  6775 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Studies ; Asian History ; East Asian Philosophy ; East Asian Religions

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