Monday, 9 May 2011

Consumer rights and self-interest

The bit below, from this, resonates with me.
Consumer advertising comprises a persistent series of invitations and imperatives to the individual to look after himself and his immediate family; self-interest becomes the norm, even duty. The same ethos, albeit propagated for different motives, pervades what is in some respects the anti-market - the consumer movement of Ralph Nader and his followers in the United States and other countries. The individual is urged to secure maximum value for money for himself or herself. The approach is to the individual as maximising consumer, rather than as co-operating citizen.
Actually I think it applies to the approach taken by many in arguing for responsible investment. The emphasis is very much on rational self-interest. Whilst understandable if your only aim is to mainstream ESG issues, and presumably ensure that they influence prices, I can't help feeling that we are giving up a lot if that is the limit of our ambition.

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