At the heart of mainstream economics lies a striking paradox. For, on the one hand, the whole discipline rests on its analysis of consumption. Even where the topic does nor arise directly and explicitly, the theoretical framework deployed depends upon individual motivation to consume as a means of maximising utility. Everything is organised towards that end. On the other hand, despite its inescapable importance, the understanding of consumption by mainstream economics is shallow to the point of being paper thin. It has already been indicated in full by the idea of utility maximisation - automated subjects relating hedonistically to unspecified objects, with little context and content other than the constraints imposed by prices and incomes.