Sustainable consumer empowerment through critical consumer education: a typology of consumer education approaches


Professor Sue McGregor, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Highway, Halifax, NS, B3M 2J6, Canada. E-mail:


It has always been assumed that consumer education serves the purpose of empowering people in their consumer role. This paper reviews the conventional understanding of consumer education and empowerment and then suggests an alternate approach. The argument is made for consumer education that helps people find their inner power and social potential to challenge the status quo, to change the system from a holistic perspective. Consumer empowerment of this type is totally self-sustaining. Once learned, it cannot be unlearned. This form of sustainable consumer empowerment is the preferred direction for the future of consumer education.