Legal Aspects Of Social Responsibility: Business. Government, And The Consumer
The issue of consumer complaints against business is in the headlines so much today. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this rise in consumerism, including, product technological complexity, pollution, shoddy and dishonest products, income and education, consumer awareness, consumer interest groups, and political considerations.
The entire movement has been defined by Philip Kotler: "Consumerism is a social movement seeking to augment the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers."
As consumers have become more sophisticated, and products more complex, the concept of "what is good information" has changed. Therefore government's law is enforcement arm in handling product information in advertising, packing, and labelling, deceptive practices, consumer credit, warranties, and other related areas.
Another area with which the government, business and consumers are concerned is unsafe or impure products.
According to Nancy Steorts there are 10 regulatory trends that will affect the future product safety regulatory environment:
- Increased concern by company executives for product safety
- Increasing cooperation between business, regulators, and consumers on reaching product safety goals
- Increasing compliance by business in meeting safety regulations in order to reduce the involvement of lawyers and expenses from litigation
- More sharing of product hazard information between business and regulators
- Continued improvement in product safety from food and drug manufactures
- Increased customer education by business and regulators
- Increased emphasis on product safety attributes through marketing endeavors
- Increased participation by retailers in product safety
- Greater international cooperation in the promotion of product safety
- Greater involvement of both business and the consumer in establishing safety priorities and regulations.
In general, there is much dialogue needed between business, government, and the consumer in order to determine fair and appropriate actions to be taken.