Toy Wars: Regulatory Defense
by Virginia Postrel • Feb 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm
As the effects of the CPSIA finally begin to attract public attention, the NYT plays sock puppet to the law's increasingly panicky supporters.
UPDATE: Alison Moore at Publisher's Weekly reports on her industry's mood, with little love for the NYT's position:
We booksellers are feeling both besieged and stymied by the complicated mess of unclear rules and uncertain expectations the CPSIA places on all of us. As are librarians. As are book publishers. As are toy makers and crafters and artisans. As is everyone who sells used books or used toys or used clothing for kids. Everyone who manufactures or sells products for children, it would seem, rightly regards the CPSIA as the source of innumerable headaches and huge potential profit losses....
Since I first began learning about it, the over-reaching and harmfully inclusive regulations of the CPSIA have reminded me of one particular book: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Among the many points Doctorow makes in this entertaining novel is the fact that sometimes in its efforts to enact laws aimed at increasing the public's safety, a government makes its citizens less safe, or at least a lot more inconvenienced that should ever have been necessary. I was thinking maybe I ought to be sending copies of this book to members of Congress, but I'm now thinking I should start by sending a copy to the New York Times
Meanwhile, at Ordinary Gentlemen, Mark Thompson gives the Times editorial a thorough fisking and Freddie makes the seemingly obvious argument that saying the CPSIA is a terrible law doesn't indict all regulation:
Every piece of stupid, ham-handed, counterproductive regulation makes it harder to pass effective and smart regulation, if for no other reason than that it erodes public trust in regulation as an institution. Regulate where prudent and necessary, but regulate intelligently, for goodness sakes.
Crazed right wingers all.