Getting rich quick and the law of unintended consequences.

 

 

It always fascinates me when some pro "free market" types tell us that regulations are what kills business.

They tell us that it stifles innovation.
How dare those commies try to regulate anything?

The free market is the hand of god they say. They want the government agencies that regulate food safety and medical, big pharma and the environmentalists to back off. They also insist that the companies will regulate in the best interest of the consumer. Or they will go broke. They say. But no one seems to pay all that much attention to the facts as usual. Follow me on a magical mystery tour of no regulation, deregulation and greed.

In the last couple years there have been theories about why the bees are disappearing.

This is a massive problem with dire consequences. It endangers the food supply on a global scale. No bees, no pollination. No pollination. No food. No food. No people, creatures or anything.

A dead planet.

Some recent studies strongly suggest that one major cause of the bee issue is, wait for it.....

Pesticides. 

Not all pesticides, particularly ones made by Bayer.  This theory has been going back and forth for a few years. Bayer then shows their own studies, paid for and conducted by them, that show that the bees love their pesticides! They are soaking in it!

Like the studies run by big tobacco, and Stun Gun International. (I outlined this a few years back here. Lots of dead links now I am sure. But you can get the idea of how campaigns of misinformation work)

Bayer does have what some would call a shady past.

I would call it that. 

In the late 1800's they developed and marketed a new product that proved wildly popular. It was said to be non addictive, could be of help to all the world. 

Although Aspirin was being developed at the same time, I am not talking about that product. Coughing was a huge issue for many people. This was in the days of TB and other afflictions that we don't see as much of today.

Bayer brought Heroin to the world. 

Using the tradename “Heroin” — because early testers said it made them feel heroish (heroic) — Bayer sold this popular drug by the truckload starting in 1898. Free samples were sent to thousands of doctors; studies appeared in medical journals. The Sunday Times of London noted: “By 1899, Bayer was producing about a ton of heroin a year, and exporting the drug to 23 countries,” including the US. Medicines containing smack were available over-the-counter at drug stores, just as aspirin is today. The American Medical Association gave heroin its stamp of approval in 1907.

After a few years it became painfully obvious that Heroin, was indeed HIGHLY addictive. No duh. Bayer didn't feel the pain and the shame they should have felt, because Asprin took off right about then and it was a cash cow until a few years ago. And there were really no regulatory bodies in place yet who could punish a company for selling a crappy product that caused more harm than good.

 

Reyes syndrome was later definitively linked to Aspirin, as well as other side effects like hemorrhaging. Aspirin is no longer the main pain and fever reducer on the market. But like all major corporations, Bayer makes lots of stuff now. They do not need their old standby.

Back in the day, they used cocaine to treat teething and baldness as well. (That graphic on the top.)

How does this stuff happen? Testing is lax, regulations are lax. Companies put greed over the health of their customers.

It's the same with the oil companies. They keep the climate change "denial" stuff  going. They throw millions of dollars at it using fake studies and the like.

They have major skeletons in their closets too. 

Leaded gas. 

Have you ever heard of Thomas Midgley, Jr.? This man was one of the most destructive individuals in our history. As Wiki says:

While he was lauded for his scientific contributions during his lifetime, the negative environmental impacts of some of Midgley's innovations have considerably tarnished his legacy. Environmental historian J.R. McNeil says that Midgley had a greater impact on the environment than any other single organism in world history. Bill Bryson in his book, 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything', has expressed a similar opinion.

He even poisoned himself with lead while working in the tetraethyl lead program. BTW, it was known how toxic this stuff was. Very well known. But!

General Motors which owned the patent jointly filed by Kettering and Midgley, promoted the TEL additive as a superior alternative to ethanol or ethanol-blended fuels, on which they could make very little profit.

It made them more money to poison everything.

Midgely also brought us CFC's which caused the hole in the Ozone layer. What a guy.

Thalidomide? 

Most of us have heard of the destructive effects on fetuses. It was marketed for morning sickness. Many countries allowed it to be sold over the counter. The USA was in fact the only country that would not approve the drug at all.

In July of 1962, president John F. Kennedy and the American press began praising their heroine, FDA inspector Frances Kelsey, who prevented the drug’s approval within the United States despite pressure from the pharmaceutical company and FDA supervisors. Kelsey felt the application for thalidomide contained incomplete and insufficient data on its safety and effectiveness. Among her concerns was the lack of data indicating whether the drug could cross the placenta, which provides nourishment to a

Imagine how many more would have been born with phocomelia if Frances Kelsey had not stood her ground and demanded more information and studies? Imagine if she had been in the pocket of the manufacturers like so many other regulators? 

Regulations are there for a reason.

Imagine if those same conditions and regulations had been in place in other cases, like......Heroin? Leaded gas?

Now we may have an answer to what is happening to the bees. 

Deregulation is bad for people and the planet. And the Harper cons are going just that route. The food chain is in dire jeopardy as well.

Unintended consequences? 

Is anyone really that stupid? Only those who put money and the "free market" over the fate of humanity.

Sadly, those are the people rubber stamping all the coming pro corporate deregulation.

But the most worrying — and telling — portion of Tuesday’s report by Michael Ferguson is his description of the Conservative government’s chillingly casual approach to air safety.
Casual because this government has no use for regulation and is going out of its way to cut what it calls red tape.
Chilling because when governments don’t bother to regulate air safety, planes crash.

It's probably a good idea to just take vacations at home from here on in.   

 

A very timely post

Given the recent cuts to various monitoring and data collection programs, with more to come, we are headed to what the corporate world would call a deregulation Nirvana.

With each of these changes, my consumption patterns get further restricted. I try as hard as I might to avoid products from the corporate giants and to buy local produce as much as possible. I try to avoid convenience food products and watch for corn syrup and canola in the ingredients knowing they are probably GMO.

But that's just a drop in the bucket and hard to adhere to rigorously. As for travel, which I unfortunately have to do to see family, I always thought that if I went with unionized workers, my chances for safety might be better even though the whole system has been massively deregulated on the whole. But now it will be even worse.

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