A common set of standards being a necessary component of global economic efficiency, The People shall establish a System of Standardization by which The People can define them and then ensure that these standards are enforced.

This means adoption of the SI (metric) system, for one thing. But it goes far beyond that in the requirement for standardization in product packaging, building codes (and building materials), and a wide variety of other areas which are currently managed by a motley assortment of government agencies, professional organizations, and even private companies. Many of these are run for-profit, which means they are practically designed to restrict The People’s ability to participate in the standard development process, abdicating this responsibility to the very businesses that are to be regulated (a case of the foxes guarding the henhouses). And because these organizations frequently charge exorbitant prices for written copies of the standards themselves, The People are often prevented from even being able to determine if the products or services they purchase comply with the relevant standards. It will take a long time (decades) for this to all get fixed, but if we don’t start, we’ll never finish.

Most “government regulation” actually consists of defining standards and then ensuring that they are followed. Rather than relying on bureaucrats and the above-mentioned “independent” organizations to define these standards and armies of government inspectors to enforce them, The People need to be the prime mover in both of these phases. Consider the infamous “hot coffee” lawsuit (Liebeck v. McDonald’s), where the plaintiff claimed that she was burned by excessively hot coffee and was awarded almost $3 million USD by a jury. How would this situation be different under Matchism?

First of all, what is the ideal temperature for serving coffee, and why is this number not already a widely known standard? What is the appropriate tradeoff between best experience and consumer safety? Should the coffee industry decide this? Individual restaurant managers? Some bureaucrat in the food safety division of a local/county/state/federal government? Of course not: The coffee consumers should decide this, based on their own experience and the advice of scientists (e.g., Brown and Diller claim it’s 58C/136 F, which is substantially below what most chain restaurants provide). After the standard is debated and then voted on and approved, restaurants would be expected to serve their coffee at that temperature. If they serve it significantly lower or (especially) significantly higher without an appropriate disclaimer/warning, they would be subject to fines and their owners subject to loss of their Credentials for repeated offenses.

Does the government then hire an army of inspectors to run around and check the coffee temperature at every restaurant weekly to ensure compliance? That’s essentially how most food safety systems currently work (or more commonly fail to work), and exactly why so many people have developed such an aversion to government regulation: It is frequently seen more often to be a power trip by politicians and bureaucrats than an effort to ensure that a quality product is provided. Instead, under Matchism The People will enforce their laws: Any individual can claim, based on experience (e.g., sticking a cooking thermometer in their coffee), that a standard is being violated. Inspectors will then verify the claim and then split the fine imposed among all those who reported the violation. The penalties being well defined and vastly more reliably enforced than under the current system, business owners who currently are inclined to gamble on compliance (particularly the extremely rare incidence of high punitive damages which most business owners probably rationally completely disregard when making decisions) will be far more likely to take care to ensure that their products and services comply with the relevant standards.

This system works with everything from beverage temperature to food poisoning, the latter of which costs tens of billions of dollars in lost work and medical costs in the US alone despite the government spending billions of dollars a year on “inspections”. But think about the last time you got sick from something you ate: Did you even bother to report it? Would you even know how and where to report it if you were somehow altruistically motivated to expend the time and effort necessary to do so? Were you even sure of the source of the problem? Ever hear of anyone you know getting compensation for a restaurant or store selling them unsafe food? The answer to all these questions for nearly everyone is “no”. But if we truly want safe food, and safe products in general, we need to change the way they are produced and delivered to us. We can start by implementing a reporting system that provides an incentive other than altruism to report a problem. The information collected can be then be used to accurately identify the problem and any fines imposed used to reward those individuals who helped discover it.

Back to the hot coffee example: If the coffee was at the standard temperature Ms. Liebecks would have no case to file. If it was not, there would be no need for the kind of expensive (and frequently inconclusive) expert witness testimony that makes up the majority of time and expense in most civil trials because all damages would clearly be the responsibility of the vendor. A lawsuit would only be necessary to establish the value of the damages if there were any question about comparative negligence.

In many cases and in many industries the most likely source of information about failure to comply with standards will come from whistleblowers, individuals who risk their jobs and in many cases their careers when they chose to expose the malpractice of their employers. Matchism and good social engineering practice requires that these individuals receive compensation commensurate with the risks they are taking (i.e., most or all of the fines collected should be passed on to those who provided the information required to initiate the process).

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