It will be evident from the outline in Chapter 1 that in the contemporary economy, service industries have come to occupy a very prominent position. This is not something that has happened very recently; it is the product of a much longer process of integration of services into the economy that goes back three centuries or more (Delauney and Gadrey, 1992). For much of this time the motivation for trying to understand and analyse services focused on how they were produced, whether they possessed attributes that distinguished them from goods, and whether or not they made a constructive contribution to the production process and to the economy at large. Services cannot, however, be performed without some form of relationship between the producer and the consumer; they cannot be stored and retained for later use in the way typical for many goods although some outputs, such as a consultancy report, may have a ‘shelf life’ extending beyond the initial implementation of the advice provided to the client. Other services, such as plumbing, carpentry, a manicure or a visit to a hair stylist, create some form of material change to an object or an individual consumer. Yet other services involve consuming a material good, such as a hamburger or a doughnut; these experiences contribute to a sense of well-being or satisfaction. Many services are embodied in the persons producing or delivering them; such human value-added comes in numerous forms ranging from the technical know-how deployed by an auto mechanic to the specialist knowledge and skill utilised by a heart surgeon replacing a diseased heart with a new one, or the expertise used by a computer consultant advising a company on its information technology investment strategy. There has, therefore, been a gradual shift towards analyses of the consumption as well as of the production of services. We will return to a more detailed discussion of the consumption of services in Chapter 8.