Parliamentary Debates

Celebrating consumer choice

Monday 23 June 2014 6.45pm - 8.00pm followed by drinks


Celebrating consumer choice

Standing up for shopping in the twenty-first century.

Sponsored By

We have more consumer choice than ever before. Where once our shopping lists consisted of little more than the basics of life, now when we venture into the world of retail we can choose from a vast array of consumer products – from exotic foods to a technicolor dreamrack of clothes to a plethora of cars.

Surely we should cheer such expanded consumer options? So why are some commentators and campaigners so down about consumer choice? From academics who complain about ‘affluenza’ to a plethora of books bemoaning our ‘greed is good’ culture, it’s the in-thing to be sniffy about consumerism. At this spiked-debate, speakers offered a range of opinions on the benefits and downsides of consumer choice and the meaning of consumerism.

Listen to the full debate:


Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini
philosopher and author

Author of several books, including Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind, The Ego Trick and, most recently, The Virtues of the Table, and founding editor of the Philosophers’ Magazine. Visit his website, Microphilosophy.

Daniel Ben-Ami

Daniel Ben-Ami
Journalist and author

Author of Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress and Cowardly Capitalism: The Myth of The Global Financial Casino, and a frequent contributor to the Financial Times, spiked and Fundweb. Visit his website here.

Helen Dickinson

Helen Dickinson
British Retail Consortium

Director general of the British Retail Consortium, responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the BRC. Helen was previously head of retail at KPMG.

Harry Wallop

Harry Wallop
Journalist and broadcaster

Feature writer and former consumer affairs editor at the Daily Telegraph, presenter on Channel 4's Dispatches and Something For Nothing, and author of Consumed - How Shopping Fed the Class System.


spiked’s parliamentary debates are an engaging mix of formal and informal discussion, with an hour-long panel debate, then join us in the pub to continue talking over a complimentary drink.

The event spiked organised really stands out. The discussion was provocative in the genuine sense of the word – curious, hearty and intellectually tough.

Karin Svanborg-Sjövall


If you're interested in sponsoring a future spiked parliamentary debate, email Viv Regan.

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