Let’s deregulate the consumer!

November 20th, 2003

To the Editor,

It is time for our politicians on both sides to stop talking about regulation versus free markets since neither one actually accurately ‘labels’ the conflict over the economic situation. Capitalism died on the day that truth in labelling was made an undesirable practice, ending the public’s regulation of the marketplace. A free market system depends upon transparency in industry so that the ‘best of the best’ in manufacturing and services are rewarded with consumer dollars – the ‘Trickle-Up Model” of a real capitalistic economy. Two products appear identical? Fine, choose the producer offering the best working conditions in their factories, whether here or abroad.

If the people are not permitted to see labels and prospectuses offering total disclosure, no free choice is possible. Whether we refer to toluene in that perfume purchased for your asthmatic mother-in-law or formaldehyde in those plywood boards you intend to put up as shelves in the new baby’s bedroom, you are not participating in a free market economy without the option to make informed selections. One can eschew such ingredients in favor of shifting to alternatives better suited to your lifestyle (e.g. vinegar in the wash and hardwood planks in the workshop).

International trade controversies highlight the issue. “Free” international “trade” cannot be based upon sneaking transgenic produce and seed into foreign markets by omitting such details on the labels. Brandishing the WTO as the weapon for depriving consumers of choices currently available in Europe is a major strategy for reducing consumer control of the marketplace internationally.

In fact folks, we don’t need a new president to restore capitalism to this country. Stop giving your custom to any industry that fails to offer you full disclosure on that box you examine in the supermarket or department store. It means work on our parts but it is time to take back control of our dollars and reward businesses treating consumers as the true source of their wealth instead of political candidates. Let them take the soft and hard money in use as political contributions and see it put toward “making a better mousetrap” for us!

Gee, true capitalism will increase product safety, cut medical care demand, lower medicare/medicaid expenses….Hmmmm.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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