If prudence was in principle commendable, today it appears to be deviating from its first ambition. Indeed, through excessive precautions, regulatory abuse, and sometimes a form of populism, the Old Continent fell behind in many areas. What if leaving the choice to consumers was the answer?
By Bill Werts, Public Policy Analyst at Consumer Choice Agency
A laudable principle has lost its purpose
Originally, the precautionary principle aimed above all to protect consumers and citizens from unknown and potentially dangerous developments. Sadly, he seems to have lost his compass for years, and out of a precautionary principle we went into over-precaution, which backfired and, in many respects, made us babies. Thus, as AI is shaping up to be a strategic issue for tomorrow’s world and Americans and Chinese are investing heavily in developing this technology, the EU’s 12-page report on the subject lists 11 pages of risks for just one opportunity. . This example can also apply to genetic engineering, when European farmers lose market share every year, becoming completely dependent on aid for survival, when in a few decades we have to feed more than 8 billion people – and this would be impossible without resorting to organisms. Transgenic.
The crucial question of choice
This raises the question of risk and chance. From what possibility can we act as a risk rather than an opportunity? One of the main concerns of the Consumer Choice Agency is the issue of – and management of – risk. The vast majority of current regulations refer to high-risk consumer behavior: moderate alcohol consumption does not equate to disease risk, unlike excessive consumption. Another example is the controversy surrounding the electronic cigarette: of course, not smoking is better in terms of health. However, the potential harms of vaping are far less than those of cigarettes, and not restricting vaping offers consumers a less risky alternative. Unfortunately, it turns out that regulators don’t adequately understand the scientific difference between “chance” and “risk,” even if some indicators are now pointing in the right direction.
It seems to us, therefore, that it is very best, for the development of the European economy, to leave the choice to the consumers, who will judge in this matter of the importance of innovations through competition and the market. Certainly, it would be easy to object to the question of complete information, weighing certain interests. However, this is to forget that these famous interests go both ways, because every medal necessarily has its downside. But don’t we allow consumers, who are also citizens, to make their choices the core of democracy? This is what we remain convinced of, and what we strive for every day.
Literally: “Innovation and consumer freedom are the best factors for Europe’s development.”