Originally Posted by tonton
Of course millions, are you kidding? Besides the peanut butter and milk powder, there have been multiple poisonings related to things like cheese, vegetables, meat, eggs... .
Most of those were discovered by the companies themselves, weren't they? Having something go wrong doesn't mean there is a lack of regulation or interest in protecting the public.
And them there have been the mining disasters,
Mining is a dangerous business, though I agree we need regulation of the industry. And we have it.
Not sure where you're going with that one. We had regulations in place, but those regulations were often waived.
schools collapsing in Taiwan and china because they've been filled with newspaper instead of reinforced concrete, a housing development collapsing in shanghai because the piling wasn't deep enough,
Was this from lack of regulation in China and Taiwan? I honestly don't know what their buildings codes/enforcement is like.
sticky accelerators in cars,
A problem Toyota became aware of and fixed. Should we have a No Sticky Pedal law? This one example really goes to MJ's point: Toyota acted quickly and with great urgency to fix this isolated problem. They were concerned, obviously, about their brand. The one danger I see in over-regulation (just in safety terms) is that it can create a culture where all safety concerns become the government's, not the company's. We see this now in public sentiment..."they wouldn't be allowed to sell it if it was unsafe, right?" I've heard that a million times. It shifts responsibility to an entity that hasn't exactly shown it can run many things well.
and that's just in recent memory off the top of my head. You'll no doubt blame government on every single one of those, but they all had one thing in common. Businesses cutting corners for profit. It's human nature, and your entire philosophy denies that
They do, but they also have to be worried about staying in business, which is what I think MJ's point is. If word gets out that Apple computers blow up 1/4 of the time when exposed to temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they wouldn't be in business very long. The market does ensure that sales of any unreliable or unsafe item tend to plummet and hurt the company. Good behavior in terms of keeping things safe is rewarded.
Now I should be clear that the above is not an argument for no regulation. I still support food safety requirements, inspection, building codes and enforcement, etc. Some companies will be irresponsible no matter what, just as the profit motive may cause them to cut corners (though I wouldn't equate "cutting corners" with a wanton disregard for safety). Additionally, some of these problems may be hidden (such as in construction) and only revealed once a disaster happens, often with the construction company being out of business by that time.
Originally Posted by tonton
Of course the milk powder manufacturer didn't want to kill any babies. The peanut butter executives didn't want to poison anyone. They weighed the risks and they thought the risk to their profit was of greater importance than the risk to the public. The execs in both cases probably knew people might get sick but didn't think it would get back to them. That doesn't mean I believe all businesses (or even some businesses) are set up to hurt people. They just want to make money, and if they think they can get away with it, they take calculated risks with people's lives. You're naive if you think that this scenario doesn't happen, or that the market will correct itself, eventually making people safer when it does. That's bull.
There is probably some truth to that. My point is is that over-regulation can actually (I think) cause them to have a "screw it, it's legal, so why not" mentality with regards to safety. I also don't think the vast, vast majority of executives think as you describe. I don't think it's a question of them thinking "hmm. Well if we use ingredient X, it might kill people...but it's worth the risk because of the profit margin." There might be some like that, of course. But I think it's more that errors and omissions happen. It could be carelessness, or negligence among certain employees, or just something that occurs beyond a company's control (remember the Taco Bell contaminated onions thing? Or the contaminated lettuce and tomato thing? These weren't Taco Bell and/or Mcdonald's fault, but both acted quickly without the threat of government action).