Monday, February 2, 2009

The Cold Dead Hand of the Free Market

You can’t make good choices without good information and the profit worshipping economy does not reward transparency so perfect information is part of the free market myth. The profit motive in isolation has no honor, only avarice so regulation is the hand of society imposing morality upon markets. It seems self-evident that a society which does not act in its common interest is damned.

When companies knowingly sell products which contain dangerous agents like bisphenol and phalates in cosmetics and hard and soft plastics, consumer beware is a null concept. You can’t research your way to good choice when they are lying to you. I used avent baby bottles with my daughter. I poisoned her for 2 years.

Bisphenol is a known Antiandrogen; a hormone receptor antagonist compound that is capable of preventing or inhibiting the biologic effects of androgens, male sex hormones, on normally responsive tissues in the body. Antiandrogens work by blocking the appropriate receptors, competing for binding sites on the cell's surface, obstructing the androgens' pathway. As a low level acute toxin, even small exposures can result in variable degrees of undervirilization (sexual differentiation) and infertility in persons of either gender.

Phalates are a known endocrine disruptor; substances that act like hormones in the endocrine system and disrupt the physiologic function of endogenous hormones. They can cause reproductive problems such as reduced fertility, male and female reproductive tract abnormalities, and skewed male/female sex ratios, miscarriage, menstrual problems, early puberty and brain and behavior problems, impaired immune functions and various cancers.

All this information is from Wikipedia and no one disputes that babies have the high levels of the metabolites of these compounds in their urine. But hey, let the markets work their magic! Let the consumer that’s been outright deceived about the safety of a product decide whether or not to buy it.

Recently, contaminated Heparin from China killed several babies here in the US. This is happening because we do not test the safety or efficacy drugs we get from China. I feel like I should repeat that. We do not test the safety or efficacy of the drugs we get from China. We allow them to do their own safety testing. We want small government so we don’t hire inspectors to make sure our drug supplies are safe. The heparin was contaminated with melamine, just like the dog food and the milk powder. Drugs are not required to have country of origin labeling so it’s been difficult to cull the bad stuff out of inventories. But hey, let the markets work their magic. Let the consumer decide whether or not to use a life saving blood thinner.

The long and short of it is that we are being sold the myth of the consumer being the driver in this economy. Be warned, this economy will say anything to keep you buying because its only motive is profit. Society must impose morality upon markets in some form or we will be consumed by them. Like the single minded virus that kills it's host, the single minded pursuit of our self-interest in profit will destroy us.


  1. It's true, you need a PhD just to be an informed, grocery shopper. Organic/Conventional, recalls, chemicals, not-quite-recalled-but-might-be-soon, free-range, 'natural', nitrites....Crap, I could sit my kids down with spinach, apples and a glass of milk and still be sweating it out about whether or not I'm poisoning them. It's no wonder that the demographics of the ave stay-at-home mom is changing. Some day it might really be the equivalent of rocket science....

  2. Hi Kim,
    This is one of the reasons I have no guilt about being SAHM, it's complicated high stakes work, man!

  3. What you are ointing out in this post is true. And I have to agree partially with Kim that you need to have a better knowledge of what is out there before you go ahead and buy. I guess you need to be more self sustainable. It is a hard think to do these days since we expect everything to be acheived with the press of a button. I mean there were many recalls for products that were imported but people seem to always find ways to go around guidelines.


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