Column: "Fair Repair" Is Unfair

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Image via Pixabay.
Would you want to return to "a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago?" That might depend on what it was, and why. Progress relegates many practices -- like having to yell into a telephone to be heard -- to the memory hole. Does Silicon Valley connote conformity? Those companies earned their riches by solving our problems creatively. Do you want to be led by the nose during your next tech purchase? If your name is Susan Talamantes-Eggman, your answer to all three questions is yes. If it isn't, beware: This "progressive" is the eighteenth state legislator nationwide to push "right to repair" legislation. These proposals threaten our right to contract, thus our freedom to pay a pittance for marvels that would have passed for magic a century ago.

Advocates raise Cain about the difficulty of electronics repair but are indifferent to what that means and why that may be. Take water-resistant phones for example. A failure of any of the patented technology, specialized assembly methods, or special adhesives can let water in. I can't even begin to imagine repairing one of these, much less wanting to. At least one right-to-repair bill would make it illegal to sell a phone unless the battery was easy to replace. Easy? For whom? At what additional cost? ...

To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets.

I would like to thank Steve D. and my wife for their comments on an earlier version of this piece.

-- CAV

P.S. (1) The title at RCM might sound anarchic to someone unfamiliar with my point of view. (The working title is above.) To clarify, I am not an anarchist: I advocate capitalism, which is not possible without a government limited to the protection of individual rights under a system of objective law. (2) Here is an interesting update: Shortly after submitting this piece for publication, I learned that there are multiple lawsuits against Apple for "throttling" older iPhones. I am not an Apple customer, but I have heard of this issue (and saw my wife's phone slow way down, prompting her to buy a new one) and Apple's explanation for why this occurred. I don't have an opinion either way, but at least this issue is being approached the right way, with a lawsuit.

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