Consumer Resistance Movements


College for Creative Studies, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs059

Consumer resistance movements are collective efforts, both formal and informal, that use the power of the marketplace either as a means of expression or to bring about some kind of change. Consumer resistance movements, often in wealthy nations of the global North, can be anti-consumerist as a general orientation, such as Adbusters magazine's annual Buy Nothing Day and the broader trend of “do-it-yourself,” or activist, targeted to achieve economic or political goals, as in the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) efforts to pressure American colleges and universities to adopt fair labor and environmentally friendly practices in their purchasing and service operations. Consumer resistance movements and consumer resistance in general have a long history, and have garnered popular attention in recent years with the publication of Naomi Klein's book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (1999).

An element of consumer resistance is built into the process of market exchange. Classical economics sees exchange as the balancing of supply on the producer's part and demand on the consumer's part in the assignment of value mediated through the mechanism of price. The consumer, in effect, resists completing the exchange transaction until equilibrium has been achieved in the form of a mutually agreed-upon price. Neoclassical economics introduces the concept of marginal ...

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