The below is my GRE ISSUE essay on government regulation. Please help !!!
GRE Issue Prompt
Some people believe that government regulation is needed in order to ensure the safety of consumer goods, while others believe that voluntary efforts of the producers of those goods suffice.
Write a response in which you discuss which view on the issue more closely aligns with your position and explain your reasoning. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address both views expressed above.
(Time 29:21 :, Length: 451)
An enduring debate in capitalistic market economy is one divided between the necessity of government's intervention and the market's ability to self-regulate. The statement discusses the two sides of the same debate in the area of safety of consumer goods. My opinion is one that sides with the need for government regulation in making sure that consumer goods are healthy and safe.
An antagonist of government involvement in the economy may argue that corporations in a laissez-faire economy can meet the public's need for safety as they pursue their own self-interest of profit and seek to attract customers who look for safer products. However, one must be careful not to overlook the fact that the corporations' prime motive is appearing to be for the public interest, while saving production costs as much as possible. When optimal safety is beyond the standard of corporate efficiency or profitableness, or when there are unproven harm or risk involved with the production of a product, corporations have no incentive to burden the costs necessary to ensure that the good is safe.
The first argument for government regulation is that it has the public's best interests at heart. By its nature, the government exists to protect the public's health and well-being. It is perhaps the only body that has enough motive and power to stay clear of possible motive of profit or conflict of interest. Consider the case of cigarettes, for instance. Tobacco firms have the incentive to make cigarettes as addictive and appealing as possible to lure more customers into the habbit of smoking. It is the government that in turn regulates the amount of nicotine and tarr in the cigarettes, in addition to putting labels to warn customers of possibility of lung cancer.
Secondly, the government is open to public scrutiny and blame and is thus accountable when something goes wrong. In the event when market standards for product safety are inadequate, the public can directly influence the government to remedy the situation. Citizens have rights to contact their congressmen, petition for a bill, organize a rally or a movement to push the government's to change current regulations. In such an event the government is forced by its nature to introduce harsher regulations, while a corporation in the same kind of pressure is not forced to abide by public demand.
It must be acknowledged, however, the concerns for government inefficiency or bureaucratic nature are valid and important. These issues are not reasons why the government should stay clear of product regulations but the reverse is true. Unless we have a perfect market where information regarding products are perfectly distributed, the government is needed to act as a guardian to protect public health and safety.