Corporate Responsibilities and Consumer Rights Two landmark books that inspired the consumer protection movement in the United States were Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906), which exposed the unsafe conditions at a meat-packing facility, and Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed (1965), which created a social expectation regarding safety in automobiles. Then Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001) by Eric Schlosser, followed by The Carnivore’s Dilemma (2008) by Tristram Stuart and Robert Kenner’s 2008 documentary Food, Inc., investigated the nature, source, production and distribution of food in the United States in particular. George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society (2011) drew attention to the pervasive influence of fast food restaurants on different sectors of American society, as well as on the rest of the world. In providing “bigger, better, faster” service and questionable food products, McDonald’s has been the leader in creating—or reinforcing—a lifestyle change that, as the opening case shows, contributes to obesity. Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary, Super Size Me, also explored the fast food industry’s corporate influence and encouragement of poor nutrition for profit.
As Steven Fink’s issues evolution framework in Chapter 3 illustrated, a “felt need” arises from books, movies, events, and advocacy groups, and builds to “media coverage.” This then evolves into interest group momentum, from which stakeholders develop policies and later legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. This same process has occurred and continues to occur with consumer rights. The books and documentaries mentioned here have contributed to articulating and mobilizing the issues of obesity, unsafe cars, and quality of life to the public.
The following universal policies were adopted in 1985 by the UN General Assembly to provide a framework for strengthening national consumer protection policies around the world. Consider which policies apply to you as a consumer:
1. The right to safety: to be protected against products, production processes, and services which are hazardous to health or life.
2. The right to be informed: To be given facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.
3. The right to choose: to be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices, with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
4. The right to be heard: to have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
5. The right to satisfaction of basic needs: to have access to basic essential goods and services, adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation.
6. The right to redress: to receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
7. The right to consumer education: to acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services while being aware of basic consumer
Weiss, Joseph W.. <i>Business Ethics : A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach</i>, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=1565988. Created from apus on 2019-06-15 17:18:23.