Big.Swede on September 22, 2011, 09:43:24 am
Ok, so i was eyeing through the AnCap and natural disasters thread when my mind started doing little turns and twists. (Itīs known to do that, to the amusement and mental anguish of my friends.) Eventualy it stopped on what in the US is known as the Food and Drugs administration. (What those two has in common iīll never understand, but iīm guessing it is somewhat similar to Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. IE, not a bloody lot.)

Anyway, the FDA is there (itīs claimed) to make sure that what we buy in stores or are served in restaurants doesnīt contain germs or other stuff that will make us puke our guts out, or outright kill us. Same goes for drugs. A medication that does cure your headache but also gives you Ebola like symptoms realy doesnīt go down that well. Even if flavoured with raspberry. So, how would this be handled in an AnCap society?

It took me about 5 minutes to come up with an almost complete solution, and itīs pretty much self given. A corporation, small or large, that does what the FDA is supposed to be doing now. Company A (Medical) wants to introduce a new kind of aspirin on the market, so they go to company B, which does freelance testing and quality assurance. B does itīs tests and verifys that the product does indeed do what A says, and that it is safe to consume. So A gets the right to put a little tag with Bīs "thumbs up" on their packaging, or sales site, or whatever. Pretty much same thing goes for food.

So when you walk in the local store to pick up a bottle of headache pills and a beef for dinner, you can look at the packaging and see that brand X is checked out OK by Company B. That means you have double insurance against misshaps like tainted food or bad medicin. Not only would Company A want to remain in business, but B also likes to keep itīs customers (other companies) comming to them. Which they will not if B starts getting a reputation of OKing shoody products. As a consumer, you now have two potentials insurances against bad stuff, and should something go wrong anyway, you have two corps to take to arbitration.

Brand Y does not have any Company B markings, but it comes a bit cheaper and potentialy from a medical company that you already trust so you might get that instead. Or you are just willing to pocket the change and take your chances.

This was just a little thought experiment from my side. I was thinking of a way to... Incorporate, is that the right word? a govermental instance.
Any discussions about this i would be glad to take here.
"Iīm purely a layman, wondering from a laymans point of view."

EENalley on September 22, 2011, 10:17:25 am
Actually there is a company who does this sort of thing already, only not with Food or Medicine.  It's called Underwriters Laboratories.  And while they test electrical and fire safety devices, determine fire life of items and things along those lines, they're a perfect example of the kind of company you're talking about. 

GaTor on September 22, 2011, 11:53:48 am
There are many watchdog orgs of this sort, regarding food and such there is "Eat this and not that'.   Others that come to mind, Consumer Reports,  Carfax', Autocheck,  Consumer Digest, etc.  There are several more running around my forebrain hiding in the synapses.
They all do a fine job without the overburden and inefficiency of bureaucracy (God I hate that word, it's even a bitch to spell). 
Go forth and do good.

ContraryGuy on September 22, 2011, 12:37:54 pm
There are many watchdog orgs of this sort, regarding food and such there is "Eat this and not that'.   Others that come to mind, Consumer Reports,  Carfax', Autocheck,  Consumer Digest, etc.  There are several more running around my forebrain hiding in the synapses.
They all do a fine job without the overburden and inefficiency of bureaucracy (God I hate that word, it's even a bitch to spell). 

Consumers Digest has what is known as a "credibility gap."  Not only do they take advertisements for products which they review, but, they will give their Seal of Approval to any company which pays them enough, regardless of the quality of said product.

Consumer Reports, as everybody knows, does not contain ads, nor do they award awards.
Also, they do not allow best of category products to use the CR name in the products advertising.

If you want to know what anarchic capitalism looks like in the food industry, look at China.
They do not have a (effective) food inspection service.  Protein-tests for milk are gotten around by using protein-derived poisons, etc.
In an An-Cap society, there would be private agents who will test foods and drugs, etc. for purity and safety sure; but what about the people who dont know about those agencies reports/cant afford to buy them/dont have the time to slog through multi-page treatises about which food is safe to eat this season?

The FDA and the Dept. of Ag maybe be inefficient and sometimes corrupt but, they do prevent the majority of Americans from getting sick and dying every day/week/season.
Not so much for drugs, though.

Same thing for Health Dept. inspections of food prep areas in restaurants and stores.
Not perfection, but at least it keeps you from dying from preventable food-borne illness.

In AnCap, you just find Joes Health Inspectors, pay them off and put up their seal of approval.

GaTor on September 22, 2011, 01:22:50 pm

In AnCap, you just find Joes Health Inspectors, pay them off and put up their seal of approval.

As you indicated, even in government services nothing is perfect.  so it is with any commercial service/enterprise.  But, in an AnCap society or even in a transition type of society, those issues are much more self-correcting than in a government backed and protected bureaucracy.   If "Joe's health Inspectors" ain't cutting it and people are dying and getting sick then they will lose out to "Annie's Food Assessors" or "Vinnie’s' Victual Verifiers".    Checks and balances of which there are not enough of in today’s government(s).   One of the major downsides of when you let government make these determination they go overboard and abuse their authority.  I cite Michelle Obama's fatassed hypocritical campaign against childhood obesity.  Or San Francisco's war against McDonalds kids meals.  NONE OF THEIR DAM BUSINESS!   I remember back in the 1980s, the FDAs and AMAs claims that salt was leading to all kinds of health problems, especially concerning the heart.  It took about ten years before they finally admitted that their study really only applied to those people with underlying heart problems and other conditions.  Their conclusions affected less than 12% of the population but they applied it to everyone.  Government is rife with this type of abuse. 
Go forth and do good.

Scott on September 22, 2011, 10:38:10 pm
My wife works for Target Stores, as a floor manager. At times she's in charge of the grocery section, and she explained to me that the store gets two varieties of health inspector -- the county's, and a private firm hired by Target. They don't inspect the packaged food directly (except some of what is served in the snack bar), but they do inspect for clean practices, removal of expired products from shelves, etc.

And my wife tells me that Target's private inspector is considerably tougher than the county inspector. And this is because Target fears lawsuits and bad publicity if any food they sell sickens a customer. But nobody ever sued a county health inspector for failing to find a problem.

quadibloc on September 23, 2011, 07:54:38 am
Upton Sinclair wrote a book, titled The Jungle, which perhaps helped bring in the age of government food inspectors.

Now, he was a utopian socialist. But, at the time, the abuses he was publicizing were a real problem; companies weren't as vulnerable to lawsuits as they are now (this, of course, has gone too far, with many famous frivolous ones) and tests to determine what caused someone's illness weren't as advanced.

In Britain, the threat of libel suits kept people there from being informed of the dangers of Thalidomide.

Maybe this was just government interference to balance out the effects of previous government interference, and so AnCap could get it right - but government food inspectors had been performing a useful service at least at one time.

NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 23, 2011, 02:32:08 pm
Actually there is a company who does this sort of thing already, only not with Food or Medicine

There is for medicine (and dietary supplements as well): U.S. Pharmacopeia (http://www.usp.org/).

mellyrn on September 23, 2011, 02:51:47 pm
Quote
government food inspectors had been performing a useful service at least at one time.

They're people -- they can't get it wrong all the time! :D

I work with a couple of FDA researchers.  If everyone in that agency were like Dave & Bill, we'd all be fine.

So we see, with Mr. Sinclair, that there can be major, deadly problems when the industry is unregulated.  And we see with government that "health" care is easily the #3 cause of death  (Other things I might cite are still officially "controversial" and since the government says they're OK they must be OK unless you're a tin-foil-hat nutter, but Starfield's still with the AMA and Johns Hopkins, so I link to her study.)

Regulated or un-, we have dangers.  Q:  if there had been no government in Sinclair's day, would it have been easier for those sickened by the greedy businessmen to have retaliated?  Likewise for modern China:  the absence of a specific governmental regulatory agency does not equal a state of anarchy.

Is there anything more than faith, that dangers are fewer with a government in place than they are without one?  What is the mechanism of the increased safety?  It can't be greater accountability, not when representatives (or "representatives") can ignore 300 "nay" calls from constituents in favor of 1 "yea" and still can't be voted (or "voted") out of office.

quadibloc on September 25, 2011, 10:57:24 am
Regulated or un-, we have dangers.  Q:  if there had been no government in Sinclair's day, would it have been easier for those sickened by the greedy businessmen to have retaliated?  Likewise for modern China:  the absence of a specific governmental regulatory agency does not equal a state of anarchy.
True enough. But I don't think it was just politicians wanting to hold on to their power that saw regulating the production of food as a much more reasonable solution than simply to scale back police power (primarily used to protect people against what are ZAP violations) to such an extent that mobs could take the law into their own hands, and sometimes find the wrong targets.

The FDA was seen as a way to get rid of an old danger without creating a new one which could be worse.

mellyrn on September 25, 2011, 12:43:32 pm
Quote
The FDA was seen as a way to get rid of an old danger without creating a new one which could be worse.

I'm sure it was.  Did it work?

I say, no "normal" can design a system that cannot be co-opted by the psychopaths.  You're buying only the illusion of security to believe that it can be done -- and doesn't that put you even more at risk, to believe you're safe(r) when you're not?  You fear the guerrilla warfare situation, and dont, or can't, see that just as much danger & death is going on anyway, just with different tools.

Government systems let some have the happy illusion of security (writing off "iatrogenic", government-caused, ills as "surely" less bad than they'd be without government) while at the same time preventing some of the rest of us from being able to defend ourselves against the institutional thieves and killers -- but especially against the well-intentioned idiots.  You know what is said to pave the road to Hell, of course.

macsnafu on September 26, 2011, 08:52:15 am
There are many watchdog orgs of this sort, regarding food and such there is "Eat this and not that'.   Others that come to mind, Consumer Reports,  Carfax', Autocheck,  Consumer Digest, etc.  There are several more running around my forebrain hiding in the synapses.
They all do a fine job without the overburden and inefficiency of bureaucracy (God I hate that word, it's even a bitch to spell). 

Consumers Digest has what is known as a "credibility gap."  Not only do they take advertisements for products which they review, but, they will give their Seal of Approval to any company which pays them enough, regardless of the quality of said product.

Consumer Reports, as everybody knows, does not contain ads, nor do they award awards.
Also, they do not allow best of category products to use the CR name in the products advertising.


Same thing for Health Dept. inspections of food prep areas in restaurants and stores.
Not perfection, but at least it keeps you from dying from preventable food-borne illness.

In AnCap, you just find Joes Health Inspectors, pay them off and put up their seal of approval.

Hmm...you recognize that Consumer's Digest has a credibility problem, why do you think it would be difficult to recognize when Joe's Health Inspectors has a credibility problem?  A Seal of Approval is only good if the consumers think it is good.  If they don't trust Joe's Health Inspectors, then Joe will have to go to greater lengths to make his inspections credible to the consumers.   

I worked my share of fast food when I was younger, and the local City/County health department seemed to get in our way when we were in the middle of a lunch rush, or at best, were protecting the restaurants more than they were protecting the customers.

The problem is that without some kind of feedback loop, and without the proper incentives, they can never know if they're being too picky or not picky enough.  Assuming that they have the best of intentions, even.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

mcc1789 on September 26, 2011, 10:57:03 am
Upton Sinclair wrote a book, titled The Jungle, which perhaps helped bring in the age of government food inspectors.

Now, he was a utopian socialist. But, at the time, the abuses he was publicizing were a real problem; companies weren't as vulnerable to lawsuits as they are now (this, of course, has gone too far, with many famous frivolous ones) and tests to determine what caused someone's illness weren't as advanced.

Actually, the Chicago meat-packing industry had long been regulated. Sinclair never visited the meatpacking plants, nor did he claim to. On the other hand, millions of others had, both government inspectors and other visitors-none ever made such accusations of horrible conditions. All Sinclair managed to do was get more regulation (by the Feds instead of the Illinois state government) which, of course, taxpayers in general, not the meatpackers only, had to pay for. This also helped to drive out small competitors of the larger companies (as usual). Sinclair actually opposed the law himself, as he recognized it had actually benefited them. http://www.mackinac.org/4084

dough560 on September 27, 2011, 03:31:59 pm
As with any AnCap operation, an inspector service is only as good as its reputation. Their seal of approval only has value based on their reputation.  It is in the provider's and service company's best interest to provide the best service possible.  Failure to do so will result in consumer distrust.  Eventually a new provider and or service company will replace them.  Failures of service could results in arbitration(s) hastening the demise of the provider and service companies.

The consumer benefits due to competition from competing providers and service companies.  The provider must provide service or materials to meet market demand.  The service company must maintain high standards to be creditable. ensuring sound reputations for the provider and service companies.

Even with the protections of government regulators and inspectors, any company not instituting said policies, soon fails.  The difference being the government does not have to maintain their repetition, for they have a controlling monopoly of services.  Without their blessing, you have no business.  And they will use whatever force they deem necessary to enforce their decisions.  In the AnCap society, consumer decisions are let to the consumer, no force or thereat of force involved.

ContraryGuy on September 27, 2011, 05:16:02 pm
As with any AnCap operation, an inspector service is only as good as its reputation. Their seal of approval only has value based on their reputation.  It is in the provider's and service company's best interest to provide the best service possible.  Failure to do so will result in consumer distrust.  Eventually a new provider and or service company will replace them.  Failures of service could results in arbitration(s) hastening the demise of the provider and service companies.

The consumer benefits due to competition from competing providers and service companies.  The provider must provide service or materials to meet market demand.  The service company must maintain high standards to be creditable. ensuring sound reputations for the provider and service companies.

Even with the protections of government regulators and inspectors, any company not instituting said policies, soon fails.  The difference being the government does not have to maintain their repetition, for they have a controlling monopoly of services.  Without their blessing, you have no business.  And they will use whatever force they deem necessary to enforce their decisions.  In the AnCap society, consumer decisions are let to the consumer, no force or thereat of force involved.

Two of the things I love about AnCap are "lawsuits/arbitration" and "no threat of force".
Outside of small frontier communities, they are total nonsense.
One, you cant have a "lawsuit" where there are no laws; and who pays the arbitrator?

In todays society, arbitrators are paid by the large corporations who have them on retainer.  Alot of modern contracts have stipulations that you cannot sue them, you must agree to binding arbitration with the arbitrator of the company's choice.
In the rare instance that the complainant is allowed to choose an arbitrator, that arbitrator is still paid for by the defending company.
What arbitrator is going to rule against his own paycheck?

Same thing for AnCap.  Who pays the arbitrator?  If they are truly neutral, where does their income come from?

Two, this quaint notion that there will be peace in our time.  Organized crime loves anarchy.  They also love the ZAP; "you pay us for protection, and we dont aggress you, right?"
Not every shopkeeper, nor every citizen will maintain overwhelming force against man's violent nature (aka criminals) 24/7.
As the criminals say, "you gotta sleep sometime." 
Who wants to shop somewhere that feels like Fort Knox?  And not in the good, "we want you to feel safe while youre here" way, but the "everybody is armed to the teeth and giving every customer the hairy eyeball" way.

How do you deter criminals?  Or do you just say, "I'm glad it wasnt my shop/house/business that got broken into/vandalized/firebombed, and too bad for them"?

There is a role for some kind of enforcement.  Todays world may not be perfect, but you can live in it.
Tax-paid protection means police; subscription protection means private police.  But are tribute payments paid for protection.  Both arrive too late to be any good, and both can be corrupted.  Whats the difference?

 

anything