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Abstract

The media, advertising, and consumerism are rampant in our culture. In recent decades, conflicting views concerning the consequences of the above-mentioned phenomena have emerged. Some, such as Milton Friedman, believe that an unregulated market produces social utility; he argues that the government’s role should be limited to ensuring an environment in which the market can freely operate. However, other thinkers, ranging from sociologists to economists to environmentalists, maintain that the unregulated market does not produce socially advantageous outcomes. These thinkers thus argue for government regulation of certain industries in order to guard against what they consider to be the market’s more problematic tendencies. This article discusses these respective positions, and recommends strategic government regulation in certain industries in order to protect consumers, the environment, and the American psyche from the dangers of the unregulated market.

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