Critical Consumption and Ethical Heritage: The Italian Case

Fabio Mostaccio

EMES Conferences Selected Papers Series, ECSP-P12-08.

In this research paper, I have tried to understand the motivations which lead the fair trade consumer to undermine the assumption that he is a “homo oeconomicus” and which in a way, give rise to what Polanyi calls “the double movement”.

In the face of a capitalistic economy which reduces human motivations to mere economic calculations, and is increasingly inclined towards the commoditization of land, work and money, there is an opposing movement for the self-defense of society, a contrasting force based on what I have defined as “ethical heritage”, or that group of values, cultural factors and social ties which are passed on to successive generations in the form of moral rules and responsibilities towards ourselves and others.

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