Consumption is widely regarded as one of the most important phenomena in contemporary society, but, till now, there has been very little analysis of how consumption patterns evolve, transform and proliferate. This revealing book provides an incisive treatment of consumption on a global scale from a cultural, philosophical and business perspective. Beginning with an analysis of how a dominant form of consumption pattern took hold in modern, capitalist, market economies, this book explores the contemporary changes and paradoxes in our consumption patterns during the transitional period from the modern to the postmodern. The text focuses on the forces shaping American consumption patterns, from corporations to Hollywood, and concludes with an analysis of the emerging trans-modern possibilities of the new 'theatre of consumption' where communities with a variety of consumption styles will flourish. This is an original and radical analysis in which its first-rate authors structure this key topic in a multi-disciplinary and forward-thinking way.As such, it will be of great interest to students and researchers of consumer behaviour in business and the social sciences, as well as those concerned with contemporary cultural transformations.