Marketing practice and scholarship are facing unprecedented challenges. The unsustainability of resource use, the increasing inequity of the market, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to business and ‘marketing as usual’. Capitalism is at a crossroads and scholars, practitioners and policy makers are being called to rethink their purpose and assumptions in light of major societal and environmental changes (Pirson & Lawrence, 2009). As current marketing thinking is based on the exchange paradigm it is largely informed by economics. Therefore it draws substantively from neo-classical theories of human beings. Accordingly, a human is a materialistic utility maxi-mizer that values individual benefit over group and societal benefit. A ‘homo economicus’ engages with others only in a transactional manner to fulfil his or her stable and predictable interests. He/she is amoral, values short-term gratification, and often acts opportunistically to further personal gain. Business strategy and marketing organization are largely based on these limited and limiting assumptions and, in turn, are blamed for creating negative externalities. This can be seen in unhealthy consumption patterns such as smoking or overeating, or an increasingly consumer ist and materialist society that cherishes the “What I have “more than the “Who I am “and “What I do”, resulting in widespread instances of depression.
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Richard J. Varey
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