A world Standardised by Force is a Bleak One

Mobile phone chargers to be standardised under EU law (Wired UK).

MEPs and the Council of the European Union have agreed that mobile phone manufacturers will be obliged to provide a common battery charger throughout Europe as part of a provisional deal on radio equipment.

The draft directive is aimed at harmonising radio products — including phones, car door openers and modems — in order to ensure they do not interfere with one another. MEPs are keen not only to simplify the use of radio equipment with a common charger, but to reduce unnecessary waste and cost for consumers.

“With this agreement we will find more safety under the Christmas tree. I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger — although the Council and the Commission were hesitant at first. This will benefit the consumers”, said rapporteur Barbara Weiler following the negotiations with the Council.

Here’s how to spot a ‘problem’ that’s already been solved, and then use brute force to implement a non-peaceful ‘solution’ that will make customers worse off, inhibit economic growth and innovation, and destroy livelihoods.

Regulations make it more costly for producers to provide their products to society because having to comply with them takes x amount of time and resources that otherwise would have been directed towards customers. Not good for customers.

The fact that mobile phone makers have supplied different chargers created a demand for a ‘universal’ one, and thus a new market was born. Smart folk out there have been fulfilling this demand for many years now, and new solutions are hitting the market all the time. Furthermore, many mobile phone and gadget manufacturers have been realising a ‘standard’ of sorts in recent times anyway because lots of devices now use mini-USB. For example, I can charge my phone, my tablet and my Kindle with the same charger even though they’re all made by different, competing companies. Yes, Apple hasn’t gone down the mini-USB route, but judging by the continued popularity of their products it doesn’t seem to have upset or harmed their customers in any significant way. Of course, if that changes, then Apple will have to answer the demands of its customers lest it lose even more market share.

New and imperfect products and services create new demands, which creates new opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to start new businesses, which creates new demand for investment and new employment opportunities. So the very people who not only came up with the idea of universal chargers, but also took on the financial risk and significant challenge of getting them into production and thus available to the masses, will now likely be put out of business by the anti-social acts of MEPs – the very people who claim to be making the world a better place.

The MEP lives in a fantasy world where his or her actions have no negative unintended or unforseen consequences to people and always achieve the greater good; they believe that they know what millions of individuals want better than the individuals themselves and that therefore it is only right that society be forced to comply with their plan. They utterly fail to understand the nature of human action and the market economy and are richly rewarded for their ignorance to the sum of £86,000 a year – plus all manner of perks and privileges – forcefully extracted from the pockets of the very people they harm. They are, by definition, parasites.

The direct cost to society of the ‘public service’ enacted by MEPs is at least £64 million a year, with the indirect cost in the form of wealth destruction and reduced economic productivity hard to measure but very real. The EU law to standardise the mobile phone charger results in a net loss to society, not gain.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We must stop believing in the necessity and virtue of government intervention in the peaceful economic exchanges between people. Why? Because once in place laws and regulations rarely get rescinded, they just build up and up and up…One day we or our children may easily find ourselves in a web of laws and regulations so dense that peaceful people must ask permission to act; a world where the question is no longer “who is going to stop me?” but “who will let me?” – to paraphrase Ayn Rand.

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