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After writing an article about government regulations in my engineering field, it really sparked in me the debate of big government vs. small government. Do you believe the government has a right to regulate engineering practices (not production or safety - I'm talking engineering in its purest form) or should the industry itself be allowed to navigate itself. For instance, with EMC (electromagnetic compatibilty), the government regulates the output of noise from a product. Is this necessary, or should the 'survival of the fittest' approach apply to the companies that make quality products that do not interefere with others (while marginal products that make your TV skew are ignored by the consumer and quickly out of the market.)
I, personally, have strong libertarian ideals but find this government intrusion one that might be necessary for the sake of the individual. What do you think?
As an engineer myself I know that the government needs to be there to set standards and oversee the practice as a whole. It's really not much different that what they do for doctors. I have worked on many projects over the years and had the opportunity to work with some great (and some not so great) engineers. It's the not-so-great engineers that I worry about. They take short cuts, rip people off, and potentially endanger people who aren't engineers (or the general public for that matter). Eventually bad engineers will get fined and lose their license.
In you're example about noise output I am not sure why the government needs to regulate that. I would hope that there is a valid reason for this. In the end though I agree that the government should "stay out of the marketplace" so to speak. The government's job should be to create a safe and fair environment where the free market system can function.
Thanks for the response. When I talk about noise, to clarify, I am discussing 'electromagnetic noise' (EMI) not audible noise. EMI produced from a product can disturb other equipment nearby it (and has a history of doing just that.) Without government regulations, it would be up to the industry and market competition to ensure that products do not produce EMI that affects other products. Whereas I typically am pro-free market, I'm not so certain it would work in this case. If a Samsung DVD player, for example, interefered with a Dell laptop whenever they were plugged in nearby one another, each could point the finger at the other. Dell could say Samsung products disturb others while Samsung could say Dell products just can't take a hit. I suppose the government, in this case, actually helps.
Ok, Yeah I see what you are saying. You are refering to the FCC stickers placed on most electronic devices that say "This device may not cause interference, and must accept any" or something like that correct? If this is the case then yes it needs to be regulated. If it wasn't regulated than companies could easily make devices that interfered with their competitors and the general public would not even know about.
The various committees that set these government standards have industry representation that are the ones that set the various limits ..... So in a sense the industries are regulating themselves..
I agree that the industry is represented well in the making of the regulations but in a sense the argument is having a standard that is regulated/enforced by government vs. letting the industry run wild and control itself totally detached from written regulation. From your point, though, I had a thought . . . even though its for the good it seems like a potentially shady detour around anti-trust laws. Thanks for the response.
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