W.H. Hutt and the conceptualization of consumers’ sovereignty

Desmarais-Tremblay, Maxime. 2020. W.H. Hutt and the conceptualization of consumers’ sovereignty. Oxford Economic Papers, 72(4), pp. 1050-1071. ISSN 0030-7653 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

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 re-description 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.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



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

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


13 March 2020Accepted
5 June 2020Published Online
October 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 Mar 2020 16:33

Last Modified:

05 Jun 2022 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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