Social Marketing: Perspectives and Viewpoints

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

C.
Governmental impact on the marketplace

What is the most efficient balance of power between government and business in our complex inter-dependent socio-economic system? Experience has indicated that free market mechanisms, alone, may not be sufficient to ensure a proper balance between profit motives and social concerns. Governments are taking a more active role in helping to reshape marketplace processes. How much governmental intervention will the market system require to ensure this proper balance? How much intervention will be accepted by society in view of the fact that regulations limit freedoms? The amount of acceptable intervention will depend upon the interaction of business and consumers in their efforts to achieve a socially desirable environment.

Given that government will be active in the reorientation of business goals, what form might this involvement take? Federal laws have delimited the scope of business practices by excluding those activities considered detrimental to society and corporate competition. In the future, this philosophy of government intervention may be altered. It may no longer be practical to merely delimit business behavior to protect the consumer, and competitor, from social or environmental degradation. These problems do not lend themselves to the same decision making rules as those facing the regulators of the market system in the early 1900's. Hasty delimitation may indeed severely limit the ability of business to respond to matters of environmental and social inequities. What will be required is an ongoing process of social feedback between the consumer- public, government, and business to ensure that the free enterprise system is capable of dealing efficiently and effectively with these problems.

This section opens with an article by L. L. Stern providing perspective

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