September 11, 2007
Good to be here...
Posted by Harwell Wells

Thanks for the welcome!   I'm glad to be guesting on Conglomerate;  any blog where people post about both corporation law and Webkinz is my kind of place.

My phrase for the day:  "Labeling Fatigue."  I'd never heard it until yesterday, when Michael Vandenbergh of Vanderbilt Law mentioned it in a (very interesting) talk he gave here at Temple.  But a little looking around on the web shows that the phrase pops up in both debates over drug labeling and corporate social responsibility -- it describes what happens when the number of warnings on a package (for drugs) or possible certifications (for CSR products) overwhelms the average consumer.   I loved it; for one, it perfectly describes my frustrations when shopping at the local Whole Foods ("hmmm...do I want 'Organic' eggs, or 'United Egg Producers' certified eggs, or is it enough that the chickens were 'Certified Humane Raised & Handled' by the Humane Society?").  But it also nicely sums up a problem with a certain strand of CSR that relies on private certification of products as "socially responsible."  As more and more products make claims to being socially responsible, and even gain some third-party certification to that effect, it will become more difficult for consumers to tell which products are "truly" responsible and which just have a label slapped on them.  In the end, consumers may be so daunted by competing claims that they disregard them altogether.

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