Not Something You See Every Day

Some Greek Entrepreneurs look upon the FDA as a model of efficiency, after trying to set up an olive business in Greece. Their government wanted chest X-rays and stool samples from all the company shareholders.

No wonder the country is broke and no one works.

5 Responses to “Not Something You See Every Day”

  1. mikee says:

    Some old regulations make sense. Chest x-rays and stool samples for workers (most often the “shareholders” of small family-based food businesses in Greece) are used to detect tuberculosis and intestinal parasites, both of which such workers can transmit to others through their work. The regulation now seems foolish, and today indeed it is. However, in the early 1900′s, it was a sensible public health policy, like laws against spitting in public in the US.

    The problem is not that the regulation makes no sense. The problem is that the regulation did once make sense, but the over-regulatory Greek state has been unwilling to remove it now that it has no purpose.

    I wonder if they still track and notify sex partners of syphilitics in Greece, as they used to here before penicillin.

    • Alpheus says:

      In her book “The Discovery of Freedom”, Rose Wilder Lane compared American commerce to French. At around the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French markets were a mess, with cheating, etc, so he decreed that every shop have a clerk who records on paper each financial transaction. This put an end to the mess! In America, there were similar problems, but people just lived with it, without regulation.

      At the time of her writing, the French were *still* doing the old ledger thing, and even protested that the clerks and the warehouse employees that store the ledgers are all doing work–while in America, we had vacuum tubes that helped customers get their products more quickly.

      She pointed out that regulation prevents change; she also pointed out that this “employment” doesn’t take into account two things: first, that the French are all “unemployed” when they have to wait in line for so long to purchase things, and second, that those clerks and warehouse guards and so forth may be “employed” but they could be put to work doing more important things if it weren’t for this stupid requirement.

      So, yeah, those laws made sense way back when, but even then, it probably put a significant burden on the business, and likely without as much benefit as they expected from it.

  2. Harold says:

    Don’t give the FDA too much credit. When they delay or deny a life saving drug, their victims die quietly without much publicity outside of the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. If they screw up the food part of their job too much people would starve (except that we’d ignore them, become Lipidleggers, whatever)….

    • Sebastian says:

      Oh, I’m not complimenting the FDA here… I’m saying Greece is that bad.

      • Harold says:

        Yeah, given the field you just exited you’re very unlikely to be singing the praises of the FDA ^_^.

        I also might need to modify my left-handed semi-praise for the Food types, for this company also sells olive oil based cosmetics and the like, which as I recall are under the remit of the FDA as well. But going to their web page their best sellers are all sorts of olive oils, lots of interesting varieties.

        And, hey, when we open our packages from them we can be reasonably sure we won’t be exposed to TB, parasites, etc….