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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/madcapitalist-quotsome-of-us-judge-regulation-28818021.aspx

Subject:  Re: Is health care a right? Date:  10/12/2010  6:24 PM
Author:  MotleyFooley Number:  533782 of 749424

MadCapitalist: "Some of us judge regulation based on results instead of intentions. So are you one of those people who thinks businesses have no financial incentive to please customers?"

Some businesses do a good job of pleasing customers. Some customers are thrilled that they can get goods cheaply. Those same customers are horrified that the goods they get contain lead paint and chemicals and bacteria.

Having alienated their customers, the customers may stop buying their products (producing losses to the company) and win millions from the company in lawsuits. Those that get sick lose wages (and perhaps lives) and are not as productive as they might have been because they're in court fighting with the company to be compensated for their losses and the problems the company's products caused.

Would it have been better for us, as society, to put regulations in place to prevent those things from happening in the first place? There are costs either way - after the fact, or up front. And in my experience, it is much easier to calculate the up front costs than the after the fact ones, perhaps minimizing them and making it seem that regulations are too costly. But much like the "health care" topic that started this thread, I think the old adage is right -- "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", especially when the "pound" is really perhaps a "ton" when all costs across society and our environment are considered.

You're absolutely right MadCapitalist - the results of regulation are what's important. I don't think any sane person would advocate regulation *for the sake of regulation*. Instead, both sides should focus more on not whether to regulate and that any kind of regulation is bad, but instead to focus on *how* the right regulation can benefit us all and create the kind of society we and others want to live in.

MotleyFooley
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