Needs, Value and Marketing: A Historical Analysis of the Political Economy of Consumption

  • Gopalkrishnan R. Iyer College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton


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Author Biography

Gopalkrishnan R. Iyer, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

Purpose – This paper undertakes a historical analysis of ideas relating to needs and value in the social sciences and identifies the relevant components that would enable marketing in its search for clear
conceptions of human needs and consumer value.

Design/methodology/approach – Core ideas and theories on consumption from the 19th and 20th century are critically reviewed to explicate differing conceptions of needs and value. The failure of disciplinary and ideological approaches are highlighted to uncover the current gaps in marketing’s
conceptions of needs and value and identify the basic building blocks necessary for a coherent and contemporary theory of needs and value for the discipline of marketing.

Research limitations/implications – Current research focuses on only on ideas and theories and not on actual consumption behavior or patterns. Therefore, implications derived are primarily for a normative theory of needs and value that would expose weaknesses in the current definition of
marketing as adopted by the American Marketing Association.