Is there any obligation to protect the consumer in a capitalistic society? | INFJ Forum

Is there any obligation to protect the consumer in a capitalistic society?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by TinyBubbles, Mar 28, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    If a person keeps paying for bad service, is it their own fault? If the service gets worse and worse, but the costs go higher and higher, and they still keep paying, should someone else step in to protect the consumer and demand better service on their behalf (or should the consumer themselves say something?) Sorry if this is a little vague, I'm just wondering how much of an obligation people have in a capitalistic society to enforce the quality of a service or product that one expects when they pay for it. For example, if you go to a hairdresser who charges exorbitant prices for crappy haircuts, but you keep going because of some sentimental reason like they're your favorite hairdresser, and they've always cut your hair, should you be dismissed as a sucker and be content with the poor quality you're receiving (since it would be easy enough to go somewhere else, or cut your own hair?), OR should you demand (and receive) improvement? If you're continually paying what they're charging, and aren't planning to stop anytime soon, DO they have an obligation to meet your needs?
    If you're unwilling or incapable of recognizing what you supposedly deserve, would a government agency be obliged to step in on your behalf and ensure you and people like you get a bare minimum level of decent service for your hard earned cash? Or should they just step back, and let pure market forces take the reign, letting anyone who can be conned into parting with their money for something that isn't nearly worth it BE conned, just because marketability is exactly what makes a capitalistic society run?

    Yeesh i'm sorry for the 10,000 questions in every post, for some reason I can't stop thinking in abstract questions, so if you don't want to answer this (or want clarification - believe me, I would!) go right ahead :)
     
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  2. LadyINFJ

    LadyINFJ Community Member

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    Ehm, I don't know about most of the other countries but here in Scandinavia we have a very strong consumer protection. Otherwise I would demand an improvement but I am not sure if my efforts will be rewarded. One against the state? Still, you can read a bit about Scandinavia and their achievements in gender equality, consumer rights protection, early giving right to women to vote, etc. And yes, if I am uncapable to realize what is of my best interest (which often differs from the state's best interest), the state should step in to protect my rights and my interest. In that matter I like reading Locke and Machiavelli.
     
  3. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Too many questions in block text.

    Fix and I'll answer.
     
  4. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    ok, just for you.

    If a person keeps paying for bad service, is it their own fault?

    If the service gets worse and worse, but the costs go higher and higher, and they still keep paying, should someone else step in to protect the consumer and demand better service on their behalf (or should the consumer themselves say something?)

    Sorry if this is a little vague, I'm just wondering how much of an obligation people have in a capitalistic society to enforce the quality of a service or product that one expects when they pay for it.

    For example, if you go to a hairdresser who charges exorbitant prices for crappy haircuts, but you keep going because of some sentimental reason like they're your favorite hairdresser, and they've always cut your hair, should you be dismissed as a sucker and be content with the poor quality you're receiving (since it would be easy enough to go somewhere else, or cut your own hair?), OR should you demand (and receive) improvement?

    If you're continually paying what they're charging, and aren't planning to stop anytime soon, DO they have an obligation to meet your needs?

    If you're unwilling or incapable of recognizing what you supposedly deserve, would a government agency be obliged to step in on your behalf and ensure you and people like you get a bare minimum level of decent service for your hard earned cash?

    Or should they just step back, and let pure market forces take the reign, letting anyone who can be conned into parting with their money for something that isn't nearly worth it BE conned, just because marketability is exactly what makes a capitalistic society run?
     
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  5. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    thanks a bunch ladyinfj :) i somewhat agree with you, but on the other hand I think things that are popular and that sell must sell for a reason, and maybe it's more risky to interfere than to let people spend as they will~
     
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  6. muir

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    I think that the further the producer becomes from their product the lower the quality of the product will become

    If you take some tools and you make your own house, you will do a good job because you want the best house for you and your family; the same will apply if you make a house for your sister/brother or a friend

    If someone makes houses they will never have to live in then the quality of those houses will go down. Lets say we have a capitalist investor who is making houses in order to make a profit.

    In order to make the biggest profit possible, because that is what the game of capitalism is about, then he wants to increase profit margins, by lowering costs. This lowering of costs will then have an effect on the durability and quality of the product

    In order to do this the investor might decide to use poorer, cheaper materials which won't last as long. He/she may hire craftspeople who are cheaper but provide lower standards of workmanship. They may have the houses built with minimum build quality for example they may put in less support or less insulation or less sound proofing. They may rush the work as well in order to turn a larger profit, quicker

    So by playing this game of capitalism and trying to accumulate capital the person becomes distanced from the product that they are selling and therefore they become less accountable.

    They become less accountable for a number of reasons:

    1) they will not use the product themselves, so they care less about the quality of the product

    2) they will not have to see the end user of the product face to face so will never have to see the grief of the housebuyer when their poorly built house falls down; this is why you get call centres instead of getting to speak to the CEO...he is busy sunbathing in the bahamas with the profits from your purchase of his poor quality goods

    3) they have become very rich selling as many houses as possible whilst maximising profits so they can afford the best legal protection against the home buyer if they try to sue when the house falls down

    4) as a rich person they have large amounts of money which they can use to influence people. Lets say for example that there is a law against houses falling down within 15 years of being made. The house builder knows that his poorly built houses only usually last 10 years before they fall down; so they pay some money to some influential people such as politicians to change the law so that houses can fall down within 10 years and the builder will still not be liable

    Capitalism is really not a very efficient system; if you think about the nature of it. The employer will pay their workers the minimum amount of pay that will not make them quit their job and in return the worker will do the minimum amount of work that won't get them fired

    The problem with arguing that protection should be afforded by the government for the people against the rich capitalists is that the government are often in the employ of the rich capitalists. Or as Karl Marx put it: the government are 'the executive committee of the bourgeoisie'

    Once this concept is grasped it makes sense of so much that is happening in business, politics and with the exploitation of consumers, the raping of the environment, the lowering of the quality of products, the wastefullness etc etc

    The argument that consumers should vote with their feet and use a different product only works if there is a competitive market full of different products

    The problem is we are very far along a process of consolidation of wealth where now much of the worlds wealth is held by a very small number of people. This means they have an increasing strangle hold on the market and can create monopolies. So you cannot 'exercise choice' if there are only a few products and they are all equally bad
     
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    #6 muir, Mar 28, 2010
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  7. LadyINFJ

    LadyINFJ Community Member

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    May, I don't really expect the state to ignore its own interest in favor of people's interest. This would be the case in an ideal state, but alas we live in reality. I do believe that I must get the best possible service or product corresponding to the money I pay for it. Anything less than that is unacceptable. If I buy myself a new laptop and the next day figure out that there is something wrong with it and it doesn't work in the best optimal way, I do have the right to go back in the shop and say: "Hey, you sold me a laptop that doesn't work as it is supposed to work. I want a new one or give me back my money." And I expect that they either fix the problem asap, either just give me a new laptop, either give me my money back in case non of the first two is possible. I believe that the state should interfere when there is a big difference between the quality that is expected for the service/product you pay for and the quality received and when this difference goes to the expense of the customer. Otherwise market can fix such things pretty well, people just stop buying products of this company and tell their friends and families about how bad they were treated. Noone likes negative rumors about something they invest money in.
     
  8. muir

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    ‘The established political parties are saying it has to be the market, the market is the only mechanism that can be progressive and to that extent history has stopped.

    And to reassert others ideas, that in fact the market will lead to mass unemployment, will always lead to poverty, will always lead to exploitation, will always lead to war and that the value of collective strength has a way of providing for our needs and generating a more tolerant, less abrasive place to live; reasserting that is a very tough job today’

    - Ken Loach on the extras disk to 'Land and Freedom', a film set in the Spanish Civil war about the betrayal of Communism
     
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    #8 muir, Mar 28, 2010
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  9. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Thanks sexy.

    Yes.

    If they're in a contract and the other party is providing poor services, then they ought to approach the government ombudsman who should have the legal authority to demand better service on their behalf.

    If they're not in a contract, they've no rights.

    The Quality should be as advertised and contractually agreed upon.

    You should stop being such a douchebag moron and leave that hairdresser.
    I get my hair cut once a month for 20 dollars.

    Nope.

    Nope, if you believe that you're receiving Just service, then noone should stop you from getting that service or demand better service.

    Yes, Precisely. If a person is stupid enough to let someone do that to them, screw them.
     
  10. muir

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    What if the ombudsman is corrupt?

    What if the government are corrupt?

    In the UK we are seeing a string of expenses scandals where politicians have been found to be miss applying public funds

    We are seeing investigation after investigation into government affairs because they are behaving in ways in which the person on the street thinks is illegal

    They are not to be trusted

    Also you seem to be adopting the 'a fool and his money are easily parted' philosophy which can be used to justify any sort of financial exploitation in fact as an extension to that philosophy you could argue that the weak are to be exploited which inevitably leads to slavery

    I would argue that we are already in a state of bondage...wage slavery

    The bonds are not made of chains they are made out of: rents, taxes, bills, fees, interest payments, contracts and debts

    These devices form the strands to a web which many people get horribly tied up in

    Many people think they are wealthy. But wealth is really about how long you can afford to stop working for

    Most people cannot afford to stop working for long before the wolf is at the door. They are wage slaves. Wage slavery is like a treadmill they put you on until you are old; you cannot press pause, you can only try to slow the speed of the treadmill down by avoiding debt and contracts

    The other option is to become so rich that you can step off the treadmill; but realistically how many people manage to do this?

    Also as Balzac said 'behind every great fortune is a great crime' (to get rich you will have to put others on treadmills and live off the sweat off their backs)
     
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    #11 muir, Mar 28, 2010
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  11. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Darwins Mayor got Fired and sent to prison because he used public money to buy himself a Fridge.

    That wouldn't happen in Australia.
     
  12. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    You meet Aussies from "The Southern Cities" they're nearly all Americanised.

    If you want to meet true aussies, you've gotta go outside that lack of culture.
    I'm lucky, I grew up in the eighties, between Emerald and Cloncurry and Cattle properties outside of Rockhampton. My culture is the Australian culture, but from the tail end of it.

    However...

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceWKrsJX9N4"]YouTube- John Williamson True Blue[/ame]
     

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    #13 Shai Gar, Mar 28, 2010
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  13. muir

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    Sounds fair dinkum...you've restored my faith in OZ!
     
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  14. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Don't get too attached to it. The younger generation are currently idolising the ghetto gang bangers... From Kalgoorlie, WA, to Darwin, NT.

    Aussie Culture will die out when my generation is gone.
     
  15. muir

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    Replaced with a psuedo culture

    There is no real protection for the 'consumer'...its an illusion of protection

    Cultural genocide is a part of the same consumer ideology

    I spoke my first word in Australia...I'll make sure i go back and see the dying embers of aussie culture before it goes
     
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  16. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Come to Kalgoorlie. Every pub has topless women, and there are great brothels here.
     
  17. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    No, there is no obligation to humanism. There are those in power (that includes leaders like the American founding fathers), who decide what is moral for the others. And not very surprisingly, they would decide their own principles are what is good for everyone else, because they were the ones to win the position of authority. Makes sense, right. Not. To me the whole idea of selling and buying things is very confusing, I must admit. While I've "earned" (apparently) some serious money, under the capitalist society, I've never understood what of my actions "deserves" anything. This whole struggle mentality seems more suited for primitive hand work, such as farming, and handcrafts. It really doesn't seem suited for more complex human activities. That's why I often think it only makes sense today to return to the villages and work the land, make simple tools. It's the only activity suited for trading, the way I see it. Everything higher than that seems false. I have no idea on what grounds I could sell music, scientific ideas, or books, for example. But I probably "just don't get it", and "should work harder".

    About the questions, regarding people's consumerist "stupidity" as some other analyzers would call it, I usually find their point of view, first, too misanthropic, second, too shallow. Maybe there are other forces, except just ignorance, which guide the dead cycles of consumerism. Such as: the natural assumption that other intelligent beings are to be trusted. Not that it's just natural, it is also learned, but it's inevitable consequence of the mammalian cycle of life, and even in birds. Sufficiently complex organisms take increasingly longer and concentrated care of their young, which in turn induces trust towards the same species and inter-species.
     
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    #18 enfp can be shy, Mar 28, 2010
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  18. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    ah, but if the consumer cant trust the market, they start to produce their own food and goods.

    Which is why we need oversight.
     
  19. Erbium

    Erbium Newbie

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    The major flaw with this is even if your intentions may be better than those capitalist fat cats this person will not have all the skills if any which will produce a good quality house. Why do people go to a fancy restaurant? Mainly because it is good quality food that they either have no time to make or simply lack the skills to produce that which the restaurant offers.

    In the long run this is veeeery unlikely to happen. The way alot of company's/capitalist investor's get business is from presenting the experience they have. Do you really think they will be in business long if all there jobs end in poor quality yet charge high prices? You prosume that all companys will go this way. In fact it only takes one (and yes there is alot more than one in nearly every market in the economy today) but it only takes one to go the other way do a good quality job. I dont deny they will try to reduce costs, but only to stay efficient. Once you get this who do you really think will be getting the work? The company with a good background or the one that has had law suits pressed againist it in most cases? The thing is the reason why a company gets to do what it does and keeps on doing what it does to produce all this profit in the first place is to create a name for itself. Which means long term profits. On the other hand you have people out to make a quick buck, they do not get repeat business and go in most cases bankrupt.

    As the materials used become that of poorer quality price will also reduce, this is based on the fact that many other produces will offer the same good/sevice. It may so happen that this said market is a monopoly, in this case yes they could in thoery force a consumer to pay alot of little, but thats why there is no truly capitalist system in place. Mixed economys ftw!
    Also they dont become less accountable as my above comments mention, they will need to keep a good reputation in the product they sell in order to competitive.

    If there is a issue with a product eg very bad quality or a fault it normally needs to get mass recalled, in my view this kinda does mean companys have a big stake in the goods/services they are selling as if they are faulty/very poorly done it will get a bad name, eg long term unikley to get repeat business. Also it costs a hell of alot to recall the goods/products, or redo a service, it could easly wipe out most of the profits they were going to make meaning they have again a big stake in it.

    You really think the CEO's of companys can just chillax? My grandfather was CEO of a huge company. He never had a spare moment, even in his 'free time' he was doing exra work to help the company stay ahead of the others ect. CEO's dont sit around doing nothing, it would just be very inefficient for them to talk to the customer. The way the company employs people in the first place is that either the owner lacks the skills for a job or they lack the time and it would be inefficient to stop what they are doing ovr employing someone else to do that job. Sure with alot of goods you can find problems with atleast some of each of them, thats why they need call centers so they can see if it is just a little problem easly fixed which can be replaced quickly or if it is a global problem and they need to do a mass recall.

    It's true that companys will use their vast captials to help them get the best lawers ect. This still does not take into account that in todays society if a big company is taken to court over and over again, or even just once. They get alot of bad publicity, this effect the reputation of a company and means that other companys can step in to take their place quite quickly.

    I'm starting to think you really dont like rich people ^^. Most people in the world would not do this. Yes there are afew people in the world that would try this. That is called corruption and it comes in my view from the human need to have more (greed). You may say this is only here because of the capatilist system, but think about it greed and the thurst for humans to have more is in everyone. Dont you want to understand more? Learn more? Be better at a skill? or in your case take over the world and make 'Karl Marx's vision come true? All these things are greedy, you and everybody just want more all the time. So i dont think the system is it blame for it. Some people in the world will try anything to get there way and get 'more'. physically, mentally, money. It will occur is any system and in any time zone which involves humans (that have not been genitically modified). The best anyone can do is put things in place to avoid this.

    I really dont see the problem with this. The employer needs a job done. He employs people and to be effective as possible looks for the best deal. Time is only worth as much as people see it. So the worker needs to weigh up the opportunity cost of working/earnering and not working/being poor. The employer also weigh's up the cost of having to employ someone and what beneift it give the company (E.g. output increases). Plus who said the worker would work as little as possible? That is a state of mind about all humans that says they are all lazy and will do as little as possible to get as much as possible. Thank god for the labour market meaning there is a competitive atomshpere in getting jobs, meaning people will do the work they should.

    The 'mob' is what runs the country. The mob refers to the mass of normal people. The government is only in place if the 'mob' wants it to be. Thats all i really got to say on that, the bit about the government being employed by the 'rich capitalists' just has no grounding.

    People have different skills. The people the huge amounts wealth have just
    utillzed thier skills, most of the time the ability to think fast, see the bigger picture, make hard decisions, creativity. Next time you are in a shop look around, if you cant see the how competitive the market is then go on the internet look up houses for sale. Phone companys? Internet access? Everything we do we have so many options. People that have gone to live in 3rd world countrys for a few years when theyget back say when they went to the shop they were shocked. Not because of all the food in it, but because there was so much choice between the same type of food.

    I seem to have rambled on abit, if in places its incoherent please let me know =). To get back the main point of this Topic. If they person agrees to have their hair cut for a certain price at a certain quality or goes into the aggrement knowing what the outcome will be then no they should not be protected. The main reason is whatever reason they are still going to the hairdressers for it is obv not the hair cut. So the person has obviously found value n somthing in it (e.g. the expirence of it as they are friendly, they know it so feel safe ect). How can one put a vaule on such things, it seems like only the person paying knows what they truly value it at.
     

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