Posted Sunday 1st February 2009 12:39 GMT
"The same argument is continually put forward wherever there are "safety" issues... whether it was the first proposals (for hideously expensive) car safety testing, pharmaceutical testing, and the list can just go on and on."
in the realm of economics you lack knowledge.
The first words of your comment show it clearly, thereafter things get even more confused. I will explain it to you. Let's take cars, your subject of choice.
After some six (indeed four) decades of compulsory and mind-bogglingly unnecessary testing of automobiles we have got product which are aptly, neatly and stealthily streamlined into the governmental laws and regulations. The car as we knew it does not exist any more. It evolved.
Mind it, Ben: our cars are now made not to suit our needs, not at all. They are produced to fit into governmental idiosyncrasy to blackmail the producers into manufacturing of cars 'for the masses', a kind of collective volks-wagen for the unwashed, who yearn to be protected, cared for, and otherwise spoon-fed the wisdom they lack.
For customers like you, Ben.
Cars are double as heavy now as they used to be only decades ago. Jump-lifting a Mini with four strong hands? Try it today. Have a look how confined they are - inside. I still remember how roomy and nimble Sir Alec's car one was. Today--be it Audi, Honda or BMW--they are big on the outside only. All looks and no function. Or, heavily hampered function. Pun intended.
I'd prefer government would retract from the relation of producer and consumer. A cobbler does not need be regulated how shoes be made. Those which are obviously unsuitable for the purpose won't sell. Others will first sell poorly, then not at all. Same with cars, socks, homes. Yes, homes, too. We are well informed--even if a building does not attach to a regulation or two it still might suit my needs, or yours. It might suit my needs best precisely because it was constructed out of the envelope.
We are well informed today--if you so desire, make it mandatory for the manufacturers to publish how does their product fit into Big Brother's funny ideas, but let me make the decision.
Do not castrate the inventor because of a folie-du jour, which is en vogue today amongst the law-making bunch in the capital city. And never try to emasculate my decision-making powers.
But, exactly this is happening today.
We have not the problem of unfit producers turning out unwanted goods. We never had the problem here. This was constantly the case in the communist block, but not in the West. There is no problem with the demand, either. Set the price right, and you will see. Tax the constituency into servitude, and they will cry for subsided goods for themselves, i.e. for cheap and abundant credit lines.
Once the money can be had easily, the public will spend it on virtually anything. It won't matter if the product is long-living, if it suits their need well, or if it is at all necessary. The relationship consumer-producer has been abolished. Regulations has been produced, they were.
Enough about industrial goods.
Do not even get me started on food, or medicine, or whatever has to do with taste, health, or life. One man's meat is another man's poison--ponder these words.
Google "Frederic Bastiat", Ben. Read "The Law". An hour well spent, I assure you.