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Production, Consumption, Prosumption

George Ritzer, Nathan Jurgenson

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This article deals with the rise of prosumer capitalism. Prosumption involves both production and consumption rather than focusing on either one (production) or the other (consumption). It is maintained that earlier forms of capitalism (producer and consumer capitalism) were themselves characterized by prosumption. Given the recent explosion of user-generated content online, we have reason to see prosumption as increasingly central. In prosumer capitalism, control and exploitation take on a different character than in the other forms of capitalism: there is a trend toward unpaid rather than paid labor and toward offering products at no cost, and the system is marked by a new abundance where scarcity once predominated. These trends suggest the possibility of a new, prosumer, capitalism.