CONSUMERISM: The New Centurions

THE shock troops in the battle for consumer protection have long been citizens' groups and individuals who received little government support, financial or otherwise. In recent years, however, as consumerism has grown into a potent political force, officials at every level of government have got into the act by creating their own consumer offices. Many of these tax-supported agencies have been increasingly effective in guarding the public against television-repair gyps, cheating furniture dealers, heavy-thumbed butchers and other unscrupulous businessmen.

Not every government excursion into consumerism has been a rousing success. Most...

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