Minor Thoughts from me to you

How to Legally Hurt the Competition

Mattel, Hasbro, and Lego have figured out how to use the government to hurt their competitors. They'll ask for more government regulation.

Acknowledging a growing crisis of public confidence caused by a series of recent recalls, the nation's largest toy makers have taken the unusual step of asking the federal government to impose mandatory safety-testing standards for all toys sold in the United States.

The toy manufacturers, of course, claim that they're only doing this in the interests of public safety and in reassuring the public before the Christmas shopping season. Of course, they're might be another reason.

Instead, companies would be required to hire independent laboratories to check a certain portion of their toys, whether made in the United States or overseas. Leading toy companies already do such testing, but industry officials acknowledge that it has not been enough.

... Small companies that currently do little or no testing would be required to pay for testing as well.

So, the large companies already do testing. Recent events have proven that testing isn't always enough to catch dangerous toys. No matter. They'll use the cover of recent events to force their smaller competitors to pay for testing as well. This won't necessarily do anything to improve the safety of toys, but it will do a lot to raise the manufacturing costs (and retail prices) of toys from their competitors.

How clever.

You know, if Mattel, Hasbro, and Lego believe in stronger testing, they could start doing it all by themselves, without the force of the federal government behind them. They could then run an intensive ad campaign talking about their new testing system and what they're doing to make their toys safe for children. This would accomplish their stated goals, they wouldn't have to wait for the government to act, and they could probably increase sales as well.

But it wouldn't hurt their smaller competitors like government regulation would. So, they won't do it. Government regulation -- it's just another way to say "legal mugging".