Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Enlightened self-interest", redux

North Carolina Syringe Factory Tied to Deaths Went Uninspected Despite Complaints
Published: February 26, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina syringe factory linked to hundreds of illnesses and five deaths operated for almost two years without an inspection despite a series of complaints that its needles were dirty or filled with colored particles.
Federal investigators contend that the company, based in Chicago, was so consumed with maximizing profits that it shipped syringes filled with saline and the blood-thinner heparin from a dingy facility without ensuring they were sterile.

[emphasis added.]

I believe it's important to keep a file of such examples.
When Republicans try to thwart new regulatory legislation - almost certainly citing the magic of the market - have the file handy to provide detailed case-studies demonstrating the failure of "self-regulation based on enlightened self-interest" (I believe that's Greenspan's phrase).

Of course, hauling out the case-studies is only the second action to take in response to Republican "the market is self-regulating" talking points.
The first action: As soon as anyone utters the term, "self-regulation", start laughing... loudly.

"Self-regulation" is an oxymoron.
"Self-regulation based on enlightened self-interest" has failed time & time again, bringing our financial system to its knees, flooding our food supply with poisons, and directly endangering our health.

Re-structuring & strengthening our Federal regulatory system will be addressed by Congress in the not-too-distant future. Republicans & industry lobbyists will howl.
It is not too early to start putting together a battle plan.

[update]Here's Greenspan himself:
“All of the sophisticated mathematics and computer wizardry essentially rested on one central premise: that enlightened self interest of owners and managers of financial institutions would lead them to maintain a sufficient buffer against insolvency by actively monitoring and managing their firms’ capital and risk positions,” the Fed chairman said. The premise failed in the summer of 2007, he said, leaving him “deeply dismayed.”

Self-regulation is still a first-line of defense, Mr. Greenspan said. But after the financial collapse of 2007 and 2008, “I see no alternative to a set of heightened federal regulatory rules of behavior for banks and other financial institutions.” ...
[emphasis added]
The financial system isn't the only arena in which regulatory over-haul is needed.

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