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Consumer movement

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Title: Consumer movement  
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Subject: Consumerism, Consumer protection, Family and consumer science, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Product testing
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Consumer movement

The consumer movement is an effort to promote corporations, governments, and other organizations which provide products and services to consumers.


  • Term 1
  • Ideological foundations 2
  • By region 3
    • United States 3.1
      • Overview 3.1.1
      • Early corporate opposition to the consumer movement 3.1.2
    • Africa 3.2
    • India 3.3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


The terms "consumer movement" and "consumerism" are used as equivalent terms in much writing.[1] The traditional use of the term "consumerism" still practiced by contemporary

  • Brobeck, Stephen (1990). The modern consumer movement : references and resources (1. publ. ed.). Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall.  
  • Mayer, Robert N. (1989). The consumer movement : guardians of the marketplace (1. print. ed.). Boston: Twayne Publishers.  
  • McGovern, Charles F. (2006). Sold American consumption and citizenship, 1890 - 1945 ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press.  
  • Sim, Foo Gaik (1991). IOCU on record : a documentary history of the International Organization of Consumers Unions, 1960-1990. Yonkers, N.Y.: Consumers Union.  
  • Warne, Colston E. (1993). The consumer movement : lectures. Manhattan, Kan.: Family Economics Trust Press.  


  1. ^ a b c Brobeck 1990, p. xvi.
  2. ^ a b c Warne 1993, p. xi.
  3. ^ a b Warne 1993, p. 15.
  4. ^ Warne 1993, p. 1.
  5. ^ Mayer 1989, p. 13.
  6. ^ McGovern 2006, pp. 314–317, citing
    • Advertisement by American Druggist Magazine (November 1938). "Who's a guinea pig?".  
    • Richardson, Anna Steese (April 1935). "An Advertising Odyssey". Advertising and Selling. Box 512 File 16.34 (Consumers' Research Papers, Alexander Library at  
    • "The Consumer Menace". Printer's Ink 181 (5): 96. November 4, 1937. 
    • Sorenson, Helen (c. 1941). Consumer Movement in the United States. pp. 154–178.  - book publication details lacking
  7. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 315, citing
    • "Institute". Tide 13 (16): 17–18. August 15, 1939. 
    • "Wooing Consumers".  
    • "Approach". Tide 13 (7): 32. April 1, 1939. 
    • "Ayer's Laird". Tide 13 (3). February 1, 1939. 
    • "Testing Lab". Tide 13 (24): 22. November 15, 1939. 
    • "The Attacking Stage". Consumers Union Reports 2 (10): 2. December 1937. 
  8. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 321 McGovern uses the description "anti-guinea pig" to describe Sokolsky's book, and cites
    • "Defense". Tide 12 (21): 26. November 1, 1938. 
    • " the Editor". Advertising and Selling 32 (8): 12, 66. August 1939. 
    • Sklar, S.H.; Walker, Paul (January 1, 1938). Business Finds its Voice. Harper & Brothers. pp. 22–23.  
  9. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 315, citing Consumers Union Reports 2 (6). July 1937.  and others
  10. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 316, citing  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Gwitira, Joshua C (1997). "African Consumer Movement". In  
  12. ^ Sim 1991, p. 61.
  13. ^ Sim 1991, p. 69-70.
  14. ^ Consumers in Africa: Meeting the Challenge (Report). Consumers International. 14–18 June 1988.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Singh, Gurjeet (1997). "Indian Consumer Movement". In  


In 1991 the Economic liberalisation in India radically changed the Indian marketplace by opening India to foreign trade and foreign investment.

[15] was mostly a result of intensive lobbying by CERC and CGSI.Consumer Protection Act of 1986 The [15] From the perspective of consumer activism, the

Gandhi promoted the idea that businesses have a trustee role in being responsible to the customers, workers, shareholders, and their community.[15] In particular, Gandhi said that "A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon him. He is not an interruption in our work - he is he purpose of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him".[15] United States consumer advocate Ralph Nader called Gandhi "the greatest consumer advocate the world has seen" for advancing the concept that commercial enterprise should serve the consumer and that the consumer should expect to be served by business.[15] Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan, two great proponents of Gandhi's philosophy, and V. V. Giri and Lal Bahadur Shastri, contemporary Indian president and prime minister, similarly expected the business community to regulate itself as an expression of responsibility to contribute to society.[15] These ideas were developed by some business leaders. In July 1966 in Bombay some people founded the Fair Trade Practice Association, which was later renamed the Council for Fair Business Practice.[15] This is now seen as a sincere effort toward promoting business self-regulation, despite consumer activists' criticism that self-policing would not provide sufficient protection to consumers.[15]

Scholars most commonly view the modern consumer movement in India from two perspectives - that of consumer activism and that of business self-regulation.[15] There is tradition in India which says that consideration for consumer rights began in the Vedic Period, and in these narratives, laws encourage merchants to practice honesty and integrity in business.[15] Most discussion about India's consumer activism starts with a description of the Indian independence movement.[15] At this time Gandhi and other leaders protested taxation of basic consumer products, such as during the Salt March, and encouraged people to make their own goods at home, as with the Khādī movement to promote spinning thread and weaving one's own textiles. These actions were to raise awareness that consumer purchase decisions fund the source of India's political control.


[11] Participation in Consumers International has otherwise raised the profile of various consumer groups, such as Mali's Association des Consommateurs du Mali (ASCOMA) and Senegal's Association de Defense des Usagers de l'Eau l'Electricite, les Telecommunications et les Services (ADEETelS) have both had representation in government policy making.[11] In 1994 50 delegates from Africa participated in the annual Consumers International World Congress and as a result participated in the development of the [11] Environmental Development Action in the Third World collaborated with Consumer International until 1994 and by 1995, only 15 countries were not participating and many countries had made stronger commitments to participation in the organized network.[11] One indicator of this is membership of African consumer groups into Consumers International; in 1991, forty African countries had no representation in this network.[11] The contemporary consumer movement is among the fastest-growing social movements in Africa today.

The Kenya Consumers' Organization, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the Housewives League in South Africa, and the Institute for Consumer Protection in Mauritius are among the most prominent and oldest of consumer organizations, and these and most others formed before the late 1970s were founded by women.[11] The organizations were vehicles to give women more equal access to basic goods and services and to connect women socially.[11] In other places, consumer groups often partner with women's organizations.[11] In 1998 two Consumers International conferences where held in Africa - an English conference was in Nairobi in June and attended by 100 participants from 11 African nations, and a French conference was in Dakar in November with participants from 16 West and Central African countries.[12] The English language conference resulted in the publication of a declaration called "Consumers in Africa".[13][14]

[11] to the extent markets elsewhere would because frequently African markets provide few choices, and many activist groups tie the right to access goods with the right to enjoy benefits of democracy and economic development.economic democracy The marketplace in Africa does not naturally promote [11] They are frequently combined with human rights interests to increase democratization, economic development, and women's rights.[11] The consumer movement in Africa came into being over time as a result of three factors: the

[11] The failure to settle disagreements and integrate the missions of various institutions contributes, along with other infrastructure problems, to inhibition of intraregional trade.[11] Most of the members of the

African economies are heavily influenced by multinational corporations and lending institutions which have encouraged export-oriented industrialization.[11] To become more attractive to investment in these circumstances many governments become willing to tolerate unfavorable conditions such as anti-competitive practices, receiving lower quality imports than would be acceptable in other markets, enduring misleading product claims, and enduring increased exposure to hazardous waste.[11] The majority of African countries implement the World Bank's structural adjustment programs to increase their attractiveness for international trade.[11] Primary concerns for African consumers are balancing competitive business practices to give them access to products while discouraging unethical business conduct.[11] The problems of African consumers are connected to other social problems of the region including extreme poverty, over-consumption of natural resources, the African refugee crisis, unstable employment, and the legacies of centuries of African slave trade.[11]


In response to the trend of corporate movement into the field of consumer regulation of the marketplace, un-American and Communist.

During the un-American and Communist.

Early corporate opposition to the consumer movement

Waves of the Consumer Movement in the United States[5]
period new marketplace features new media popular concern key people key publications key organizations key legislation end of era
1900-1915 national distribution, product branding Newspaper, Magazine Food safety, Drug safety, stopping anti-competitive practices Upton Sinclair, Harvey Wiley The Jungle National Consumers League Pure Food and Drug Act, Wholesome Meat Act, Federal Trade Commission Act World War I
1920s-30s Mass production, Home appliance, Advertising using images Radio Criticism of advertising due to non-objective information, lack of representation in advertising regulation Stuart Chase, Frederick J. Schlink, Arthur Kallet, Colston Warne Your Money's Worth, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs Consumers Union, Consumers' Research, rural electrical cooperative organizations Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Wheeler–Lea Act World War II
1960s-70s Product proliferation, personal credit, complex new technology, greatly expanded international trade Television Safety standards, advertising's social impact, consumer redress for damage Ralph Nader, Esther Peterson, Michael Pertschuk, Sidney M. Wolfe Unsafe at Any Speed, The Poor Pay More Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, American Council on Consumer Interests National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Truth in Lending Act, Consumer Product Safety Act, Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act Presidency of Ronald Reagan


The history of the consumer movement begins in the United States. Beginning in the 1960s-70s scholars began to recognize "waves" of consumer activism, and much of the academic research on the consumer movement sorted it into "three waves of consumer activism". Since that time, other scholars have described other waves.

United States

By region

The event which historians recognize as launching the consumer movement was Frederick J. Schlink and Stuart Chase's publication of Your Money's Worth.[3] The innovation which the publishing of this book brought about was the concept of product testing, which is the basis of the modern consumer movement.[4]

Among the people whose ideas formed the basis of what became the consumer movement are the following:[3]

Ideological foundations

In the 1960s in the United States lobbyists of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation began using the term "consumerism" to refer to the consumer movement in a pejorative and antagonistic way.[2] This was an attempt to denigrate the general movement and the work of Esther Peterson in her role as Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs.[2] Since that time, other people have confounded the term "consumerism" with the concepts of commercialism and materialism.[2] Still other people use "consumerism" to refer to a philosophy that the ever-expanding consumption of products is advantageous to the economy, and they contrast consumerism with the modern term "anti-consumerism" in opposition to the practice of over-consumption.

[1] activism to promote consumer interest by reforming the practices of corporations or policies of government, so the "consumer movement" is a subset of the discipline of "consumerism".grassroots The term "consumer movement" refers to only nonprofit advocacy groups and [1]

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