Taking consumers seriously: Two concepts of consumer sovereignty [Book Review]

Governments, producers, and international free tradeorganizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO) areincreasingly confronted with consumers who not only buy (or don''tbuy) goods, but also demand that those goods are producedconforming to certain ethical (often diverse) standards. Not onlysafety and health belong to these ethical ideals, but animalwelfare, environmental concerns, labor circumstances, and fairtrade. However, this phantom haunts the dusty world of social andpolitical philosophy as well. The new concept ``consumersovereignty'''' bypasses the conceptual dichotomy of consumer andcitizen.According to the narrow liberal response to this newconstellation, with respect to food one should conceptualizeconsumer sovereignty as the right of the individual consumer toget information on food products and to make his or her ownchoice on the market of food products. In this conception, thereis a very strong emphasis on rules and principles with respect tothe autonomy of individuals.
Keywords consumer concerns  food ethics public debates  public participation  trust
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