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Lobbying AmericaThe Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA$
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Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149165

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149165.001.0001

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The Producer versus the Consumer

The Producer versus the Consumer

Chapter:
(p.140) Chapter 5 The Producer versus the Consumer
Source:
Lobbying America
Author(s):

Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691149165.003.0006

This chapter illustrates how the national debate over consumer protection underwent a remarkable transformation during the mid-1970s largely in response to the successes of an increasingly mobilized and organized corporate lobbying community. Once a relatively uncontested social goal, consumerism emerged from the contested politics of a stagflationary decade as a fraught clash of interests. To analyze the mechanisms of business lobbying and its effect on the shifting politics of consumer product regulation, the chapter traces the origins, rise, and slow death of Ralph Nader's biggest legislative priority for the consumer movement in the 1970s: a consumer protection agency in the federal government. Designed to institutionalize consumerism by inserting what Nader called a “consumer perspective” into the national regulatory apparatus, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) was a constant fixture on the congressional docket from 1969 to 1978.

Keywords:   consumer protection, corporate lobbying, consumerism, Ralph Nader, consumer perspective, Consumer Protection Agency, stagflation

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