Consumerism, Marketing, and the Cardinal Virtues

Journal of Markets and Morality 19 (Fall):297-315 (2016)

Chad Engelland
University of Dallas
The tendency for consumers to over-indulge in purchase activities has been analyzed and discussed since the time of Plato, yet consumerism in today’s marketplace has become increasingly more prominent and pernicious. In this conceptual paper, we examine consumerism and discuss the four ways in which consumerism can undermine individuals and society. We then apply the four cardinal virtues - moderation, courage, justice and prudence - and describe how these virtues can be implemented by consumers and producers so as to result in more effective achievement of the common good. As a result of this application, both consumer decision-making and producer marketing action should work to promote human flourishing.
Keywords Consumerism  Virtue Theory  Business Ethics
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