Donate your eyesight to capitalism

The Fireproof Hotel phenomenon has been a frequent theme at RtO. Some readers deny it exists. Hah! Take this, skeptical readers. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/09/science/eclipse-glasses-recalls.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=5&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2017%2F09%2F09%2Fscience%2Feclipse-glasses-recalls.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=0)

It is unclear how many people will go blind from using phony eclipse glasses, but it is clear that capitalists care as little about blinding you as they do about burning you alive.

The Times report also turns up an additional reason — as if saving your eyesight were not sufficient — for regulation: by a kind of Gresham’s Law of retailing in a litigious society, vendors of legit eclipse glasses got dinged as well as the criminals. In fact, perhaps more than the criminals.

“In a statement to The New York Times, an Amazon spokesman said:

” ‘Out of an abundance of caution and in the interests of our customers, we asked third-party sellers that were offering solar eclipse glasses to provide documentation to verify their products were compliant with relevant safety standards. After reviewing the documentation, the offers from sellers with compliant eclipse glasses remained available to customers. The listings from sellers who were not approved were removed and customers who purchased from them were notified.’

“Mr. Panjwani said he submitted proper documentation three times. He said that Amazon did reinstate the page, only to pull it again, and then reinstate it again, leaving him with an inbox full of confused and angry emails.”

As for the usual alternatives to government advanced by the libertarians:

1. Testing the glasses yourself was not so easy, and, in any case, you would have to buy them first.

2. Suing for compensation. Lots of luck with that.

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