Consumption has become one of the major issues in recent debates on economic growth and its role in global change as scientists recognize, for example, that changing consumption patterns of the emerging middle classes in China or India have a new and crucial impact on the exploitation of the global natural environment. That is true in the case of growing consumption of meat, which causes land use changes, such as the conversion of huge areas of tropical rainforest for the production of soybean or palm oil. Also the severe air pollution in many mega cities can be linked with a higher demand for consumer goods produced by a large industrial complex. Consumption also had important influences on past environments, but this field seems to be a neglected one. In economic history, the advent and development of consumerism and a mass consumption society from early modern times onward is a well-introduced issue. 1 This is not the right place to recapitulate the debate around a proper definition and delimitation of mass consumption in general and of consumerism in detail. Looking back from a perspective that has the current situation in mind, the following text is focused on early modern and modern times, because the advent of a mass consumption society in a modern sense can be dated back to the eighteenth century. 2