Social Marketing: Perspectives and Viewpoints

By William Lazer; Eugene J. Kelley | Go to book overview

The author explores several areas relating to public policy, its development, and its relationship with the consumer movement. Can self-regulation be developed to a satisfactory level to significantly reduce pressures for new legislation? The future of the traditional free-enterprise system hangs in the balance.


15. THE CONSUMER MOVEMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY DEVELOPMENT*
William Lazer
INTRODUCTION
This session is organized around four questions:
1. To what extent is there a cause and effect relationship between the consumer movement and public policy considerations?
2. Has the consumer movement preceded the enactment of laws and constraints of the business system in the past?
3. Was the consumer movement of the 1960s of such an intensity to presage the passage of major legislation affecting marketing?
4. Can self-regulation be developed to a satisfactory level to significantly reduce pressures for new legislation?

These questions are of course impossible to answer unequivocally. Yet that is exactly why they are good grist for the minds assembled here today. Permit me to illustrate with a few general comments about them.

Determining the extent of the existence of the consumer movement as a cause and public policy as the effect, can only be a matter of speculation. Hard data do not exist to establish "the statistical facts." While one might speculate about a number of the correlates, it is important to be aware that the reverse could also be true with public policy as a cause and the consumer movement as effect.

____________________
*
Northwestern University Symposium.
The author is deeply indebted to Mr. Frank McLaughlin, Director of Industry Relations, Office of Consumer Affairs, The White House, who so willingly and ably shared insights that shaped the development of this paper. Appreciation is also due to the 1971 American Marketing Association White House Interns, Mr. Alvin Katzman, Miss Priscilla LaBarbera, Mr. Richard Rose, and Mr. Morris Shapero, for their research into consumer inputs in the federal rule-making procedures. Some of their findings are reflected herein.
Michigan State University.

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