consumer sovereignty


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consumer sovereignty

(ECONOMICS) the concept that in a MARKET ECONOMY the consumer of goods and services ultimately determines the continued production; and changes in the production, of these. The objection raised against this notion is that, while as social actors individual consumers have ‘choice’, this is constrained by the power of large producers to control the range of goods and services available to the consumer, e.g. through advertising (see also AFFLUENT SOCIETY, GALBRAITH). It follows from this, that in seeking to understand consumer behaviour one must study the overall social context in which the production of goods and services occurs, and not confine attention only to the tastes of consumers. See also CONSUMPTION, CONSUMER CULTURE, COLLECTIVE CONSUMPTION.
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