Theses on the concept of the enlightened consumer

On 4th of October 2011 the NRW Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF), the NRW Ministry for Consumer Protection (MKULNV) and the Consumer Advice Centre NRW hosted a workshop in Dusseldorf. The workshop focused on the question: “Is the concept of an enlightened consumer still timely? - New strategies in consumer policy”.

The hosts summarized the workshop in eight theses. These are presented here without further explanations which can be found in the original version:

  1. Consumer policy should still be guided by the normative concept of an enlightened consumer.
  2. The concept of an enlightened consumer does not, however, describe reality.
  3. The objective of consumer policy should be to decrease the discrepancy between the normative concept and the consumer reality.
  4. Consumer policy research should  develop methods that assist consumer policy makers in identifying challenges to consumers and adequate instruments to address these.
  5. Consumer research is often an interest led research. Fundamental research should strengthen an independent consumer policy research.
  6. Consumer policy should be an interdisciplinary research.
  7. From the point of view of consumer policy, consumer policy research needs to bear in mind the political relevance of the research results.

Here the theses can be downloaded in full length (German version).

Furthermore, the Scientific Advisory Board on Consumer and Food Policies at the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection (BMELV) published two positions papers on the concept: Wollen wirklich alle den "mündigen Verbraucher"? Wie Interessengruppen ein Leitbild instrumentalisieren and Der vertrauende, der verletzliche oder der verantwortungsvolle Verbraucher? Plädoyer für eine differenzierte Strategie in der Verbraucherpolitik.