From the demand of the consumer to the command of a people

Lincoln Smith
8 min readJul 4, 2021


Originally posted on

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Beyond consumer sovereignty is…

What would it mean if we no longer considered demand to be commensurable to consumer sovereignty, but rather command? Would this sovereignty initialise the post consumer world, as agency is progressively released from the captivity of wants primacy to implicate the world at large? Would this difference enable us to trace the emergence of a new way of doing things, so give us a line of flight to follow?

What do we mean by demand other than consumers demand products to satisfy their wants. But what does it mean to have consumer sovereignty, such that demand can be a given? It’s a matter of preference, choice is determined by options. Our demand is a given but within its givenness choice determines the nature of it. In this way we could say demand enables the world to recede, as the immediacy of our wants, what is not considered as the scope of my demand is not given in my preferences. Hence the negative externalities of production recede for our wants primacy, something we continue to grapple with through conscious or ethical consumption. We can say our demand orders, creates a price signal for the factors of production to be organised for the things we are oriented to rather than other ends that compete for the same factors. In this regard our demand engenders supply, the signal from the consumer market brings those factors of production into alignment, orders them through our demand. Competition for scare factors of production means the end that generates the maximum return will determine the price of these factors such that their rationing is contingent on the opportunity cost of competing ends. So we can say much like economics; consumer sovereignty is a situation where the desires and needs of consumers control the output of producers. There are exceptions to rule, if we do not have choice there is no way the price signal can work to ration the factors of production though as a provisional rule we can say it has some legitimacy.

Our want of life

What can we say about our way of life when our agency or sovereignty extends only as far as our demand?. If want is primary because money is a given then our average relationality is predicated on want, so can be perpetually solicited to sustain this relationality to ensure “the world of provisioning” is never questioned in light of the problems associated with a way of life that substantiates such an impoverished sense of connection or relationality. Our way of life makes want the primary motivator for ordering, so the maintenance of want could be said to be a prerequisite, to ensure demand can be met when disinhibited through the auspices of marketing or more generally all forms of media.

If want persists, as the rationale of our way of life then a want of life is its organising principle. The enframing of life, through visions that coalesce the good in life, through the accoutrements of lifestyle means our wants are given a “holism” to work towards disinhibiting. When looking at a vision that would constitute the good life as unsurpassable we have to consider it when money is no object. Irrespective of whether people entertain it as such, it is useful as a heuristic device to frame the substitutable nature of our consumption in light of our aspirations. Disinhibiting our aspirations through the means we make of ourselves through the consumables we furnish our life with means they become quasi placeholders as their tenure is determined by the means at the time of purchase so are contingent on a level of time bound affluence. Their “legitimacy” being commensurate to our aspiration is held in suspense, is precarious until such time the means at our disposal can disinhibit the want to release the demand to supply the underlying aspirations reckoning. This waiting is the holding pattern of consumerism, the vicious circle

You are waiting for the means you make of yourself to catch up with your aspirations when given form through lifestyle visions. What underwrites the velocity of consumption so gives it legitimacy is the ideal of independence from the claim money has to ration the experience of life. Yet the spiritual aspiration of independence is epitomised through the primacy of want, this means we are given over to the signs of what would constitute sovereignty when the average relationality is defined by it. In this way the “spiritualised” nature of consumption is the refuge for the nullity of the aspiration as there is no way to attain what constitutes sovereignty when demand is the extent of its givenness. This is the same irrespective of your “station” in life, so whether of limited means or extremely wealthy there is a spectrum, a continuity we presuppose as life is just about disinhibiting the given of want to constitute life as an idyll or subdivided Eden. Consumption becomes more rarefied as the disutility of money is what is given beyond necessity. Affluence allows this disutility to seek refuge in art as its highest embodiment though only as a prop in life style vision. This attests to a diminution of vision as we manage our frame on life as we are always marginal in reference to the end we presuppose.

To command is to make an exception

Lets now take a look at command. So what would command consist of? If we framed demand or consumer sovereignty in light of controlling the output of producers, there’s a qualitative difference between the sovereignty where command would be given. Why would we say that? What do we mean when we say a person commands?

Perhaps we can say they direct, they hold attention in being unmediated to dispense what is offered, though there is no choice to receive, you are a conduit for its presupposition, so are captivated to the effect of the orientation. There is a problem when we talk of command this way invariably we think of a King, or head of state, or maybe even elites, and an associated height command is said to originate from. When it comes from “below”, it’s qualitatively different because it doesn’t presuppose any distance, there is no conduit of this potential, no tribunes, vassals, place holders or intermediaries, it is direct. As a result not only is this form of command irreconcilable with the way sovereignty has been framed as hierarchical but the scope of the accompanying change is incommensurable as it is world forming. In order for the command of the no-one to be given it has to reference what our way of life presupposes. Currently want is engendered so we can order the factors of production through the legitimacy of our demand, which is the given extent of our agency. Command is implicit in the demand we actualise through wants primacy though is not given beyond its presupposition.

As we are market orientated, we are oriented through the directionality of marketing and branding to disinhibit our wants, this way is contingent upon us not commanding the way life is to be given. So through our receptivity, command is never entertained, we never consider the extent of our sovereignty, the exceptionalism we could determine. We are not given over to choose the way of life, we don’t presuppose this for ourselves as the diminution of resolving upon our wants entails this reduction. For command to dispose of the way want is solicited relates specifically to marketing and branding or the propaganda of our way of life. This means the distinction between command and demand can no longer be tolerated, the arbitrary limitation or diminution of agency, the lack of credit current marketing propaganda substantiates is the issue that needs to be inhibited, so as to decouple agency otherwise considered from the good of want to shift to command that creates.

To no longer accept being a consumer

Cause marketing, or conscious consumption cannot allude the relationality of want, when change is supplementary to the opportunity the business has defined

What does that mean? People no longer accept themselves as consumers. You cannot approach me in the manner you have before, there has to be a qualitative difference in the way you address me. If people are just presupposed, so essentially accept the diminution of what it means to be, are only given credit for their demand even if supplemented with causes to halo want with a meaning it otherwise lacks we are still considered as good as the want we satisfy. Cause marketing, or conscious consumption cannot allude the relationality of want, when change is supplementary to the opportunity the business has defined. The relationality of want is what is made good on not the creativity or agency it seeks to harness, why? The diminution of agency that’s presupposed preserves a way of ordering that produces you as a consumer, the product of our way of life. So if we don’t accept ourselves as products of a way of life, then the only way you can do justice to the insight, is to understand your latent potential, sovereignty as command. To understand the exception to a way of life that disinhibits your want so you may demand means you’re still not given credit for implicating the world that recedes for your wants primacy as the issue of the spiritual aspiration that legitimises want as a relationality is never brought to the fore, the ideal of independence. So the exceptionalism starts with the way we are always addressed as a consumer, to reveal what underwrites our wants, the marginal way we receive ourselves. This is a way of potentialising our time beyond the economic good to temporalise place for a common surpassing, through a sustainable eco system of like minded people, embodying the ethos of creative sustainable wellness. This is the process of democratising creativity and is a question of culture, consequently one we currently lack. To do so you are literally looking at a way of life that differs from being market orientated. Because we are beholden to a way of life we have to consider what is open, so the marginal way we can reveal command from the presupposition of demand.

In this context, actions that were once taken for granted as only controlling the means of production can actualise the implicit creativity beyond production and so implicate the world at large. This is absolutely critical because then you’re looking at the relationality that sustains the way that gives to the future this possibility. It ultimately comes down to the question of loyalty to a way of life you maintain. So you are either loyal to the way you are given, or you potentialise your time in a manner worthy of being born, and help create a common surpassing, a sustainable ecosystem where the indivisibility of life is a given.

A legacy worthy of the choice that has always and forever will be yours.



Lincoln Smith

I am a no one like you, amorphous, ready to be defined, to be brought forth, to be given credit for my want of life, so i can be a consumer of it.