W. H. Hutt and the Conceptualization of Consumers’ Sovereignty

Forthcoming, Oxford Economic Papers

29 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2020

See all articles by Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay

Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay

Goldsmiths, University of London; Centre Walras-Pareto, Université de Lausanne

Date Written: February 17, 2020


This article examines the meaning of consumers’ sovereignty in the interwar thought of the economist William Harold Hutt. For Hutt, consumers’ sovereignty was an ideal, a norm against which economists could assess different economic systems. It connected the value of individual freedom, the commitment to a market society and an appeal to a liberal democracy. By coining the expression of consumers’ sovereignty, Hutt operated a creative redescription of the Millian idea of individual sovereignty which reflected the rise of the figure of the consumer in the public space. Hutt’s vision had been forged by the teaching he received at the London School of Economics and his involvement in the Individualist movement in the 1920s.

Keywords: consumers' sovereignty, consumer's sovereignty, W. H. Hutt, liberalism, neoliberalism, London School of Economics

JEL Classification: B20, P10, P20, A12

Suggested Citation

Desmarais-Tremblay, Maxime, W. H. Hutt and the Conceptualization of Consumers’ Sovereignty (February 17, 2020). Forthcoming, Oxford Economic Papers, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3553883

Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay (Contact Author)

Goldsmiths, University of London ( email )

Lewisham Way
New Cross
London, SE14 6NW
United Kingdom

Centre Walras-Pareto, Université de Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015

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