Article

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 229-236

First online:

Autonomous Consumption: Buying Into the Ideology of Capitalism

  • Anne CunninghamAffiliated withManship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to examine three different approaches to autonomy in order to demonstrate how each leads to a different conclusion about the ethicality of advertising. I contend that Noggle's (1995) belief-based autonomy theory provides the most complete understanding of autonomy. Read in conjunction with Arendt's theory of cooperative power, Noggle's theory leads to the conclusion that advertising does not violate consumers' autonomy. Although it is possible for advertisers to abuse the power granted them by society these abuses do not constitute a violation of consumers' autonomy.