Phosphates etc.

Corporate managements should seek regulation if unfettered competition prevents them from offering socially optimal products.

I agree with Michael O’Hare’s post about phosphates and institutional culture etc.

I’d go further to say that if a company’s management believes that the absence of regulation (in this case limits or bans on phosphates) is fostering a competitive situation that is not socially optimal (i.e. I’m not offering phosphate-free detergents because some other company will out-sell me with phosphates), then it’s their ethical responsibility to make the technical case to the government for appropriate regulation.

Government, of course, needs to be able to distinguish between regulation in the social interest and regulation in the management’s interest.