Applying principle of informed consent to businesses

a writing by Han Min Ohn

The principle of informed consent should be incorporated into today's market economy to make sure that the consumers know exactly what they are paying for when they buy a product and to make business more transparent. Currently, if we buy a product, let's say, a mobile phone, we have no idea how much is the cost of the materials used to make this phone, what is the labor cost, how much the are charging you for providing you the technology inside this phone etc unless we dig. We can only compare its price and specs to other products and if you think it is reasonable, you just buy it. I think this is like going into a clinic with headache, ask the doctor what treatment options you have and what are the prices, and choosing one of them without the doctor telling you what possible side effects you may get from choosing that treatment. Although patient is the one who chooses what treatment he receives, it is the duty of a doctor to explain the patient what are the available treatment options and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment.
Likewise, people selling products should not only allow consumer to choose the price and specs, they should also explain customers about how they finally come up with those prices and specs so that consumers will have better knowledge on to which sector where their spent money go and have better control on business models. So, in my opinion, for every product, they should label what is the percentage of production cost, transport cost, advertising cost, technology development cost, management cost in addition to the selling price and other labeling requirements. Production cost should further divided into true labor cost and other cost during production.
In this way a consumer will be able to make a better judgement on which product he or she wants to buy. For example, he or she may try to avoid a product that is putting a lot of cost on advertisement but very few on labor cost and vice versa depending on personal preference. It will also to some extent prevent overpricing of a product and put some restraints on those who are trying to mono or oligo-polize a product.

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