Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chinese toy recall

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the recall of all those faulty toys from China. The upshot is that the toy makers and the Chinese have the biggest incentive to fix the situation, so it behooves them to act quickly -- and it looks as if they have. They are likely to have the problems fixed reasonably well before Congress gets around to holding the first hearing, underlining the fact that a relatively free market has quicker and more effective corrective mechanisms than regulations, all of which will raise prices and some of which will have unfortunate inintended side effects. Here's a link to a post by Don Boudreaux in Cafe Hayek that explains things in a little more detail and links to another piece.

Whether the perception, which is sometimes more important than the reality, will be fixed effectively is another question. The fact that consumers will decide about the future of Chinese toys suggests that in a relatively free market consumers really do have more influence than almost any other player.

Also, here's a link to an Explainer in Slate about why people use lead paint. Of course it's dangerous, but for a number of functions it's relatively cheaper, longer-lasting and faster-drying than paint made with other compounds. It also resists mildew. The Romans used lead paint on ship bottoms and people still do so today.

No comments: