Nader, Ralph

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Nader, Ralph

Ralph Nader (nā´dər), 1934–, U.S. consumer advocate and political reformer, b. Winsted, Conn. Admitted to the bar in 1958, he practiced law in Connecticut and was a lecturer (1961–63) in history and government at the Univ. of Hartford. In 1965, Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, a best-selling indictment of the auto industry and its poor safety standards. Largely through his influence, the U.S. Congress passed (1966) a stringent auto safety act. Nader founded (1969) the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, which exposed both corporate irresponsibility and the federal government's failure to enforce regulation of business. He later founded the Center for Auto Safety (with Consumers' Union), Public Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an umbrella for many other such groups. Briefly a presidential candidate in 1992, Nader since has run as the Green party's candidate in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent in 2004 (endorsed by the Reform party but not the Green party) and 2008. In recent years he has been a severe critic of the power of multinational corporations, as in his books The Good Fight (2004) and In Pursuit of Justice (2004), and also has focused on shareholder rights and corporate management.

See speeches and writings collected in The Ralph Nader Reader (2000); biographies by R. F. Buckhorn (1972), C. McCarry (1972), and P. C. Marcello (2004).

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