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Consumer Rights and the Law

The concept of law for the “protection” of the consumer raises one immediate question: who is the consumer that law seeks to protect? What is the particular character of the consumer, and which interests may be associated with this individual that require legal protection? This simple question, however, immediately confronts us with a philosophical debate on consumerism and a myriad of evaluations of the value or nonvalue of the figure of the consumer. To take but one infamous paring of the postwar period, we can compare and contrast the rational consumer who is a hero to the free market with the nightmare vision of a property-less individual, who is dedicated to “sacred” wealth accumulation, but who never achieves “true” ownership since the consumerism of advanced ...

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