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Consumer Sovereignty

Consumer sovereignty is a fundamental principle used in economics and political science denoting the freedom of the individual to choose how his or her needs and wants are fulfilled. In a sociopolitical perspective, the concept emphasizes the role of the consumer as a market “sovereign” as regards the production of goods and services. In its broadest sense, it refers to the assumed power of consumers in free market economies to decide which goods and services—and in which qualities and quantities—are actually offered. A free market is defined as one where there is no collective control over the production or distribution of goods.

The origin of the concept of consumer sovereignty can be found in the classic liberalism of Adam Smith. In his seminal work The Wealth ...

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