Scholarly observers and policy analysts of development and urbanization processes in the global periphery and semi-periphery have acknowledged only recently the crucial role assumed by the sphere of consumption (Armstrong and McGee 1985). The appearance of a copious volume of literature and the continuing fascination with issues of production within, what Walton styles, ‘the third “new” international division of labour’ (Walton 1985b: 3), have failed to be matched by rigorous analysis or debate on a host of parallel issues surrounding consumption and economic development. Curiously, this neglect of matters pertaining to consumption seemingly is shared by disciples of both liberal and radical paradigms of analysis in development studies (McGee 1984). Indeed, critical theoretical explorations on the role of consumption in peripheral capitalism have been pursued by a group of Latin American scholars associated with Raul Prebisch (see Prebisch 1976, 1978, 1981; Filgueira 1981; Rodriguez 1981; Tokman 1982).