Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Not long ago, I made
note of an article that explained a rapid and distinct fashion
shift as being at least in part due to government regulation. Here's
another, which covers a pet peeve of mine: bottled water. I have
always wondered why so many people started buying something at a huge
markup, and at not so great an increase (if any) in convenience. Now,
... Fiji Water infuriated Ohio with the tagline "The label says Fiji because it's not bottled in Cleveland." The insinuation, of course, was that there was something wrong with local water.That is, regulations that may have cleaned up water some (by forcing people to refrain from something a system that protected property rights would have taken care of long ago) also whipped people up into a panic over possible risks. The article, by the way, also explains why it is that you just can't seem to find a decent water fountain anywhere these days. Bottled water is fine for emergencies -- I have some in the basement for tornadoes. But when I take the kids out to the park, I bring a few thermoses with filtered water along.
Americans were receptive to this message because of another shift: the rise of environmentalism. In response to activist pressure, the government drafted measures like 1974's Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation made water much safer by limiting dumping and setting contaminant standards. But it had an unintended consequence: Because municipalities had to notify residents of contamination immediately, Americans who had grown up trusting tap water were now getting bombarded with warnings of possible risks. [link dropped]
P.S. The above also makes this patronizing filtered water commercial almost comical to me, not that I have a problem with bottles being sent to landfills.