The Market Regulates Better Than Government, Example: Underwriters Laboratories
I derived a special joy in reading this Mises Institute article on Underwriters Laboratories. You see, I'm from the Northbrook, IL area and my first private sector salaried job was at this very UL office. Since then, I've worked many years with the government before returing to the private sector. I've seen the difference in quality, efficiency and attention to detail from both sectors first hand. This is why I find the idea that government can regulate the markets better than private firms laughable.
UL has been in business since 1894, and last year alone tested nearly 80,000 products! They have led, not followed, the government in efforts to increase flight safety, fire safety, and a host of other initiatives to protect the consumer. UL is not perfect but far superior to government regulators. In its 105 years of existence it has made some mistakes, but I would enjoy seeing any to paint UL's record as inferior to that of the government's. Now that would be amusing.
Why aren't there more companies like UL? There would be, if the government allowed it. UL beat the government to the regulation game, certifying products long before government cared. As the our economy grew, the government, under the guise of Progressive reform, abrogated competition in market regulation. Many entrepreneurs are capable of competing with UL to satisfy the consumer's desire for safe products, but no entrepreneur can compete with UL and the government. So you're stick with what you've got. Instead of a vibrant, dynamic, and efficient regulatory industry we have UL and a collection of far more expensive, corrupt, wasteful, heavy-handed government regulators.
Sadly, many Progressives want to see UL abolished. Remember when I was telling you about Woods' Law? Here it is again:
Whenever the private sector introduces an innovation that makes the poor better off than they would have been without it, or that offers benefits or terms that no one else is prepared to offer them, someone—in the name of helping the poor—will call for curbing or abolishing it. - Thomas E. Woods Jr.
David in Qatar