Regulation – Private Sector Style


So, this past weekend my wife informed me that we were going to buy a new washer and dryer.

Fine.

Then she told me that she would appreciate it if I conducted some research and came up with a make and model before we went to the store.

Fine.

The entirety of my research was this:

google.com

“Do front load washers work”

When I found out that the stink and break, I went to step 2:

consumerreports.com

“Top Load Washers”

Sort – Price

I found the top rated set in the price range I wanted.  I looked to make sure there was more than a dozen reviews.

Then I wrote it down on my paper.

Total time invested – 7 minutes.

Confidence – High.

My point is that there aren’t any written rules that document how a manufacturer should create a well made and quality machine.  Rather, they have to answer to the market.  It is CRITICAL to these folks that they are rated high in Consumer Reports.  If they aren’t rated well, I don’t buy.

And neither do you.

Why that wouldn’t work for milk is beyond me.

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7 comments
  1. dedc79 said:

    EPA’s Energy Star program has done a lot to encourage the design of energy efficient washers and dryers. I also believe the Department of Energy requires the use of energy labels on clothes washers and dryers so that consumers are made aware how much energy the appliances will likely use and what that will cost.

    • pino said:

      EPA’s Energy Star program has done a lot to encourage the design of energy efficient washers and dryers.

      Hi ded,

      I suspect you are right. The question remains to be seen if that’s a good thing or not. If the price of energy efficiency is so high that it offsets the money spent to purchase a washer and dryer, the government has hurt, not provided relief.

      For example, California is going to require sprinkler systems for fire suppression in all new homes. This is expected to add $4000.00 to the cost of each new home.

      So, question, does increasing safety of new homes at such a cost overcome the additional burden to buying a home. Especially consider if this additional cost prevents people from purchasing a home to begin with.

      Fire sprinkler systems are now required on all new California single family residences (SFRs) and duplexes built on or after January 1, 2011. Prior to the recent California building code amendment, 146 cities and counties in California had building codes requiring sprinklers in particular homes, however this is the first time a statewide building code for fire sprinklers has been enacted.

      The fire sprinklers are estimated to raise costs of new California homes an average of $4,000 per unit, an increase builders and buyers fear will slow and deter an already sluggish housing market.

      I also believe the Department of Energy requires the use of energy labels on clothes washers and dryers so that consumers are made aware how much energy the appliances will likely use and what that will cost.

      They do. And while that’s handy, I suspect they would do so even if not required. Or, if they didn’t, it would signal that people, like me, simply don’t care.

      • dedc79 said:

        I tend to think it really depends on the product. For milk, we’ve made a decision that certain standards are necessary because if those standards aren’t met people can/will get sick or die. Returning the milk afterwards doesn’t do you any good if you’re dead.

        Highly technical products sometimes warrant standard setting because it would otherwise be difficult for consumers to know whether or not they’re getting screwed. So for a clothes dryer, it would be pretty damn hard to tell what percentage of your monthly utility bill is attributable to that appliance. Having the label makes sure that you know that info right up front.

      • pino said:

        For milk, we’ve made a decision that certain standards are necessary because if those standards aren’t met people can/will get sick or die.

        People were drinking milk safely for hundreds of years before we regulated it.

        If you simply let current laws regarding fraud rule the day, you’ll be able to prosecute based on the explicit description of fresh milk.

        So for a clothes dryer, it would be pretty damn hard to tell what percentage of your monthly utility bill is attributable to that appliance. Having the label makes sure that you know that info right up front.

        Forget for a second that we have such ability and instead consider this; is that the proper role of government? Is it really true that the government is required to tell us not only what % of our bills are attributed to the dryer, but also how much it OUGHT contribute?

        You’d have a hard tie making that case.

  2. But milk now is processed at a mass level in ways that go beyond what was done in the past. I personally don’t want to wait until my child is sick or dead to prosecute because a food or drink was fraudulently marketed. We have some of the safest food in the world and I suspect regulations are a big part of that. I don’t want to have to investigate via consumer reports or some such group every brand of food or drink I buy. IMO, It’s easier and ultimately in my self interest to have it regulated.

    • dedc79 said:

      Is it really true that the government is required to tell us not only what % of our bills are attributed to the dryer, but also how much it OUGHT contribute? You’d have a hard tie making that case.

      Yeah, it’s this thing called the “tragedy of the commons.” Individuals might not care enough about how much energy a clothes dryer uses, but when there are a few hundred million of them in the country (or billions on the planet) and they all use a boatload of energy which is powered by oil and coal which are non-renewable resources and which pollute the air, then i think the govt has a stake in setting efficiency standards.

  3. pino said:

    I personally don’t want to wait until my child is sick or dead to prosecute because a food or drink was fraudulently marketed.

    My point is not that we would sell milk that was untested. My point is that the testing would be done privately. In the same manner that Consumer Reports runs washers and dryers through the wringer [har har har] “they” would test milk in the same manner.

    the “tragedy of the commons.”

    I LOVE the Tragedy of the Commons. Its my favorite Libertarian story.

    See here.

    The point of the Commons isn’t that people can only be saved by regulation. It’s that people acting in their own self interests will abuses the Commons. The answer is easy. Let someone own the Commons.

    energy which is powered by oil and coal which are non-renewable resources and which pollute the air, then i think the govt has a stake in setting efficiency standards.

    Here I tend to agree with you. At some point the company polluting the air isn’t the same company having to deal with the negative consequences. However, I think the answer lies in regulating the polluter, not the housewife.

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