Nitpicky regulations are useless

There might, somewhere in the distant past, have been some period in American history in which regulations actually did some good.

We’re well past that point now. The main purpose of regulations in today’s market is to ensure that major corporations can run dazzling PR campaigns on a gullible public while providing makework to government bureaucrats (and keep any business rivals from competing).

Case in point: “USDA Organic” haaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha that’s a good one. I’m utterly convinced that the vast majority of people who buy “organic” products are ignorant consumers dazzled by a shiny label. Why? Because the “organic” chicken eggs are proudly labeled as coming from “vegetarian-fed chickens.”

Chickens. Aren’t. Vegetarian. They’re omnivores.

You’d think, with all our regulations and stuff, that companies wouldn’t be able to get away with lying on the labels, right? Well, have some stories from the grocery store shelves – that fancy glass-bottled “diet soda” has sugar in it. Unlike every other diet soda, in which the word “diet” means “no calories,” this one claims it’s “diet” apparently on the grounds that it’s a hybrid soda, like those “Dr. Pepper 10” drinks. Hope you read the fine print before drinking it if you’re diabetic! Another humdinger: that “non-dairy creamer” they sell for coffee. I hope you read the fine print if you’re allergic to dairy products, because while it says “non-dairy” on the front, it says quite clearly “made with dairy” on the back! What they actually mean is “lactose free” which is NOT the same thing as nondairy, thankyouverymuch. (Bonus: if you haven’t seen the Mythbusters set it on fire, watch this. Pretty explosions!)

So basically, even with a gazillion rules on the books supposedly “protecting” consumers, it’s obvious that those eeeeevil corporations are getting away with lying to consumers about their products anyway. Here’s the thing: more regulations (or a change in regulations, or a bigger budget, or more regulators…) is not going to solve this problem. The problem is not that the laws are insufficiently detailed. The problem is that the companies are pulling shit like that in the first place. If you have a culture that accepts companies deceiving people about potential health risks, they’re so far gone that you’re never going to be able to make enough laws and have enough regulations to stop it. (Which is why using anything that says “Made in China” is kiiiiind of like playing Russian Roulette, just with better odds.) Moral behavior can’t be imposed through legislation. There’s no way to fence the straight and narrow path so that devious-minded amoral people can’t find some way to exploit the system.

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About pancakeloach

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