Tag Archives: eu

Regulation Roundup

With the unemployment rate still over 9 percent, regulators have been very busy tending to their own job security. Here are some of their more recent make-work programs:

-In King County, Washington, swimming without a life vest is punishable by an $86 fine.

-New food regulations in New York would make it illegal to cut cheese in farmer’s markets.

-A new California regulation would require retailers to provide seating for cashiers.

-The Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted voluntary new standards for cribs in 2008. Now it has decided to make them both mandatory and retroactive. That means that roughly 100,000 unsold cribs currently sitting in stores will have to be thrown away. Hopefully smaller retailers can survive the hit.

San Francisco is poised to ban goldfish.

-New EU regulations would require farmers to look after their pigs’ emotional well-being.

A weakened version of Texas’ TSA pat-down ban passed both houses of the state legislature. TSA agents found guilty would face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The loopholes in this version appear large enough that it would do little to stop the pat-downs. Other states are considering similar measures.

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CEI Podcast – October 7, 2010: Trade, Jobs, and Korea

Have a listen here.

CEI Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith talks about the EU-Korea free trade agreement that takes effect next year, and why the US-Korea FTA stalled, to the economy’s detriment. Fran also talks about NAFTA’s impact on jobs, and why imports are a good thing.

Intel’s Human Rights

While I was away on vacation, the Detroit News ran an article by Hans Bader and me about Intel’s claim that the EU’s $1.45 billion fine against them violates its human rights.

Do Corporations Have Human Rights?

Intel’s defense in its EU antitrust case has taken the surprising line that the company’s human rights were violated. Over at Real Clear Markets, CEI colleague Hans Bader and I take a closer look. We conclude that Intel actually has a pretty good argument.

Corporations have human rights because doing so greatly reduces transaction costs: “suppose your company wants to buy some computer chips from Intel. You could have each shareholder sign the sales contract – good luck finding them all – or you could treat Intel as a person with the right to sign a contract, and the obligation to honor it. To deal with one person or millions? That is why corporations have legal standing as individuals.”

In short: no corporate rights, no modern economy. No exaggeration. There is a reason why legal conventions emerge as they do, even if they appear strange at first glance.

Iain Murray was kind enough to point out to me that the idea of corporate human rights has very deep roots. The 18th-century legal scholar William Blackstone, in his revered analysis of the English common law, wrote that corporations have the right “[T]o sue or be sued,, implead or be impleaded, grant or receive, by its corporate name, and do all other acts as persons may.”*

*William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 1: Of the Rights of Persons, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979 [1765]), p. 463.