Become a wise consumer

Can consumers be wise? David Glen Mick from University of Virginia and Barry Schwartz from Swarthmore College ask if it would be possible for us consumers to do the right thing more often, when we make consumption decisions.


We have to understand first that everything we do is consuming. From the moment we begin to live, we naturally need oxygen, nutrients and energy as the basis for our survival and development. Therefore consuming comes very natural to us and the question itself is according to Mick and Schwartz, “timely and timeless” and they look into Aristotle’s practical wisdom (phronesis) to find answers how to consume ‘happily’ in a consumerist society. “No other virtue in his philosophy is more simultaneously linked to morality and human well-being. (…) But being a wise consumer is not just knowing one’s preferences well, adding more dimensions to one’s multi-attribute utility function, or being savvy at costbenefit analysis. Wisdom is a meta-functional and integrative process that balances multiple and often conflicting factors. And rather than being a mixture of relevant expertise and useful decision rules, practical wisdom is about perceptive, contextsensitive judgments with a mission to maintain or enhance well-being.” (Mick, Schwarz, 2011)

Read more: Can Consumers Be Wise? Aristotle Speaks to the 21st Century

> Transformative Consumer Research


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