Departmental Bulletin Paper 倫理的消費 : 消費者による自発的かつ能動的な社会関与の意義と課題
Significance of Ethical Consumption and Issues Emerging from Voluntary and Active Consumer Involvement in Societies

根本, 志保子

11 ( 2 )  , pp.1 - 17 , 2018-01-31 , 一橋大学大学院経済学研究科
The concept of ethical consumption is typified by two characteristics: ①voluntary and active involvement of the consumers themselves in societies, ②the use of practical markets. In this context, the economic and social thoughts of M. Gandhi and E. F. Schumacher are key sources of ideas. Voluntary behaviours have the potential to make people aware of their responsibilities and develop areas of creativity to improve societies. Simultaneously, consumption can also be utilised to support and promote economic independence of producers by using markets. On the other hand, these voluntary behaviours also pose a number of unavoidable limitations on market use. There are three aspects to this issue: (1) the free-ride problem; (2) the guarantee of consequential ethics in free competitive markets, and (3) difficulties in setting uniform ethical standards. However, recent studies to addressing pro-social preferences and behaviours, including ethical consumption, have not been able to completely address these issues. Neither have ethics based on deontology and consequentialism also been able to provide an explanatory basis. However, if voluntary behaviours are focused, the concept of virtual ethics has the potential to provide answers to these problems.

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