Consumerism

Consumerism - A social movement that seeks to strengthen the position and interests of consumers vis-à-vis the major providers and the general public.

The objectives are to enforce consumer interests vis-à-vis providers (e.g. improving the legal position of consumers, enforcing effective price competition, improving the quality of goods and services, ensuring complete and reliable consumer information or market transparency, educating consumers).

The means of achieving these goals are journalistic campaigns (e.g. for consumer information and consumer education), calls for active and critical consumer behavior (e.g. price comparisons, boycotts) and the establishment of legal measures to protect consumers (e.g. with regard to consumer health and safety).

The ideas of consumerism found expression in consumer advice centers, the Stiftung Warentest, the Consumers' Working Group and, more recently, in consumer protection ministries of the federal government and individual states.

The most important current problems are:

  • Environmental problems of some packaging (can deposit)
  • Products hazardous to health (BSE)
  • So-called “secret seduction” through marketing and especially advertising
  • Allgemeine „Verdummung“ des Verbrauchers (disinformation)
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