Standards run amok

This is a bigger problem than globalization enthusiasts (myself included) than let on. In a fully globalized world, the country/union with the strictest standards for the production of goods or provision of services is the one that will actually determine what the standards are. It’s easy to foresee this development and ensuing regulatory competition becoming highly costly and being riddled with unintended consequences. As the article concludes:

“The larger theme here is that unelected officials in Brussels, and protectionist politicians in EU capitals, are using their regulatory power as a tool of economic nationalism. Under the cover of some nice-sounding social goals, they are harming U.S. companies and reducing commercial freedom. This is a growing threat to U.S. prosperity, and American politicians and regulators had better wake up to it.”

The problem is that American companies are going to want to comply with EU requirements. Clearly the EU has the right to set its own standards (if the US does as well). I don’t really see an obvious process to address these concerns for politicians and regulators.


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