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Market based political action: a path to sustainable development?


  • Deirdre Shaw
  • Iain Black


This paper critiques market based political action (consumption as voting) with the aim of assessing its use as a means of political and societal action capable of helping develop a sustainable economy. Despite being able to motivate change within the market place, overall it is found to be limited in its direct ability to affect social change and lead the development of a more sustainable economy. However, it is found to be a useful form of political participation that encourages engagement and has a role in sending general messages to governments regarding citizens' willingness to take action over important social and environmental issues. These conclusions are based on the finding that consumers' signals and market's reactions to specific campaigns within sustainable development may be inconsistent, unclear or weak. However, overall this market action does send clear messages regarding the broader issues and people's desire to see action upon them. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Deirdre Shaw & Iain Black, 2010. "Market based political action: a path to sustainable development?," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(6), pages 385-397, November/.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:18:y:2010:i:6:p:385-397

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