Libertarianism Kills 110 In Bangladesh

If you listen to the childishly naive libertarians, if government just got out of the way of business and keep itself to “open courts and preventing fraud”, everything would just be unicorns and glitter.

Western garment firms have been accused of hiding behind flimsy safety audits after the latest lethal garment factory fire in South Asia, where poorly paid workers often toil in dangerous conditions.

The night shift at the Tazreen Fashion plant outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka was hard at work when the blaze erupted late Saturday, killing 110 employees with many trapped inside unable to escape the flames and smoke.

The fire came after 289 people died in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi in September, in a similar blaze that again highlighted the export garment sector’s dismal safety record.

Right..because those government regulations covering, oh, worker and workplace safety, are just driving up the cost of business and putting those “job creators” out of work.

“Many factory owners either deceive or buy their way to so-called safety compliance which is designed to satisfy overseas buyers keen to get garments at low prices,” said Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director of Human Rights Watch.

“This is another glaring indictment of the failure of the so-called private sector corporate social responsibility model,” he told AFP as Bangladesh held a mass burial on Monday for victims burnt beyond identification.  – Kahleej Times

Yup, this is the Libertarian vision for business.  Little to no regulations for things like worker and workplace safety and, for those in place, toothless enforcement powers for the agencies overseeing them.  I’m sure the families of the 300+ killed over the last couple months will be satisfied to seek justice in ‘open courts’.

Oh, and just so you don’t think I’m exaggerating, here’s the Libertarian view on OSHA and the like:

An excellent article entitled “Abolishing OSHA” in the Cato Institute magazine “Regulation” ( Volume 18, #4, pp. 46-56, 1995) argues that “…OSHA can never be expected to be effective in promoting worker safety; that an expanded OSHA will cost jobs as well as taxpayer dollars; and that other means currently keep workplace deaths and injuries low and can reduce them even more.

The authors back up their argument with persuasive statistics and examples. You can read the full article here:

In other words, OSHA has been a waste of time, money, and effort. But it gets worse! This wasted time, money, and effort could have been used to train workers or give them more rest periods. These reforms might have actually improved safety records further, since fatigue and inexperience are the primary causes of work-related injuries. By wasting resources, OSHA has compromised the next level of economic improvements and the safety that comes with them.

People should be free to take steps to reduce health, safety, and other risks individually or through insurance and other cooperative efforts.  However, compulsory measures such as the FDA, OSHA, labeling laws, and licensing that impose rules of prior restraint are illegitimate.

David Theroux, The Independent Institute

Occupational Safety and Health

The Issue: The arbitrary and high-handed actions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration invade property rights, raise costs and unjustly impose upon the business community.

The Principle: This law denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and interferes in their private contractual relations.

Solutions: Private sector consumer activism groups must be created to replace ineffective government agencies like OSHA.

Transitional Action: We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.


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