Production and consumption arguably form the central poles of contemporary material life, indeed the material basis of social existence in capitalist and socialist industrialised societies. Much of modern social theory can be caught in the extremes of Marx’s definition of production as the objectification of labour and Baudrillard’s inversion of this formula in an anti-utilitarian conception of consumption. Marx argued that because value in human life came through productive labour, under capitalism neither labourer or capitalist are ultimately content – the labourer because they are alienated from the fruits of that labour, the capitalist because they enjoy what they did not produce. This model, after Hegel’s master and slave relationship, may be over-simplistic, but more importantly it focuses everything around the pole of production which serves as the basis of social and historical existence. The flipside to this perspective, which has tended to dominate the way we see modern society until recently (see the recent works of Miller 1986, 1995, 1998) whether from a Marxist viewpoint or not, is that consumption is unproblematic. Consumption as merely the acquisition of goods on the basis of their utility value – i.e. the provision of basic human needs, and the consumer as the ‘rational man’, making ‘rational’ decisions on the basis of these given needs.