Marketing and Consumers: Handmaidens of Finanzkapital

In the short presentation “Marketing and Consumers: Handmaidens of Finanzkapital”, Dholakia develops the argument and presents evidence showing that all aspects of marketing and consumption – from lofty ideals of consumer orientations and consumer sovereignty to high-level corporate marketing officers who target their strategies to brand-obsessed consumers – are mere handmaidens of fast-globalizing financial capital, or to use the classic 1910 Hilferding shorthand phrase, of “Finanzkapital” (Hilferding 1910). The choice of the feminine gender for marketing elements, in subservient relation to a macho global Finanzkapital, is deliberate. In periods of economic normalcy, the power structure and relations of Finanzkapital, much like the Wizard of Oz, stay concealed and marketing and consumers are placed on a false pedestal of sovereignty – made to look and feel and even act like powerful queens that wield enormous power over corporate decisions and choices. With crisis, these pretenses crumble rapidly; and the marketing and consumer elements are revealed in stark terms for what they are: handmaidens of Finanzkapital. The way out of this predicament is to foster multiple ways of consuming and producing outside the orbit of Finanzkapital, and thereby whittle away the pernicious global trap of finance-driven capitalism.


Nikhilesh Dholakia (2011) ,"Marketing and Consumers: Handmaidens of Finanzkapital", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 44.


Nikhilesh Dholakia, University of Rhode Island, USA


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

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