What is consumer accountability?


Consumer accountability involves the responsibilities and actions that consumers take regarding their consumption behaviors and demands within the marketplace. It can relate to several aspects:

  1. Distinction Between Consumer and Citizen Roles: Cass Sunstein discusses how individuals often support laws and regulations as citizens that they might not adhere to as consumers. For instance, someone might advocate for environmental conservation laws but neglect these principles in personal shopping habits, illustrating a disjunction between consumer freedom and societal responsibilities 1.

  2. Digital Marketplace Challenges: Marta Tellado emphasizes that in the digital marketplace, there is often a lack of standards and self-policing, leading to consumer harm. Consumers need to be aware of their power and demand fairness and transparency from companies. This involves being informed and active in holding corporations accountable for their practices 2 3.

    Consumer Sovereignty vs. Citizen Responsibility

    Cass Sunstein discusses the distinction between consumer sovereignty and citizen responsibility, highlighting the potential disjunction between our choices as consumers and our obligations as citizens. He explores how collective action problems and societal aspirations shape our behavior in these different roles.


    Cass Sunstein on #Republic
  3. General Accountability: Accountability can also refer to how consumers interact with the marketplace and align their actions with broader societal goals. For example, choosing products that align with ethical practices or avoiding businesses with harmful practices contributes to a more responsible consumption pattern 4.

In essence, consumer accountability means being conscious and responsible about the impacts of one’s consumption choices, advocating for transparency, and aligning personal habits with societal values and broader ethical standards.