Saturday, March 31, 2007

Government Regulation Debate

Neal over at Leftwich called me out for a response on government regulation.

Read his post here and then come back and read my response below.

I think that if the long history of industry to favor profit over all over concerns, safety included, this is one area where government regulation not only makes sense, but is required. Look at the kinds of abuses that were rampant in meat-packing and featured in Upton Sinclair’s "The Jungle." It took the publication of the book, a startling social event, to coax the government and industry to agree regulation was necessary.

And I think the situation here is telling. We’re regulating the practices for food producers in the US (some might say not very well in light of numerous E. Coli, Salmonella and other out breaks) but what are we doing for food items with purposes other than human consumption that are imported? Enough? It would seem not.

I know Neal and I have different views on regulations (over beers last week we had quite a discussion), but active measures to ensure the safety of people and pets in light of current events is something that even the most ardent opposition to government regulation should be able to support.

Personally, I think the government should constantly be re-evaluating how best to keep the people of this country (and others, where possible) safe in ways much better and more productive than killing (or creating, depending on your point of view) terrorists.

It makes me sad, though, that it took numerous deaths (even those of pets) to shock people into even realizing there was a problem and that they should consider addressing it.

With the ever growing popularity of organic and whole foods, this would seem to be the best time for organic growers to step in and say “if you were using our products, this probably wouldn’t have happened.” Not only would this aid their cause in public perception but also increase their economic viability considerably.

Although I disagree that government regulation is a bad thing (I think it can be quite an effective tool depending on its use), I would agree that no matter how horrible this situation was, it will cause government to take responsible and proactive measures to ensure that it never happens again and at the end of the day that benefits us all.

1 comment:

Lew Jeppson said...

Business is driven to maximize profit under almost all circumstances. To appreciate why this is so one should read Marx (Capital). Regulation has proved to a somewhat effective stop gap.