Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Bigger Picture- Safety Regulations

Every safety regulation is touted as a way to make you safer. But they are much more than that.

Safety regulations limit liability and restrict who can make what. The person who is supposedly being protected is also, in actuality, being forced to do things in certain ways, and assume certain costs.

The clearest illustration of this is the safety regulation of American automobiles, which effectively force us to buy cars that get half the gas mileage we could get from other cars we're not allowed to buy. That is to say, the regulations force us to buy from the oil companies gasoline we perhaps would not buy if there really was a 'free market'.

When the regulations are written, industry is at the table. The government agencies are at the table. 'Consumer groups', whether funded by industry or actually representing consumers (which can be both or neither) are at the table. Foreign governments and Wall Street financiers are at the table.

And the person actually affected by the 'safety' part of the regulation is at the kiddy table.

With a global warming crunch and the peak oil crunch coming at about the same time, we are looking at some real problems for suburbia in America. Allowing the free importation and sale of smaller cars could really ease the pain here It's one thing we could do right now- if we wanted to.

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