Sunday, February 05, 2006

What Stopped the SawStop

Yesterday I came across this video which showed a device that could stop a table saw in 5ms if the skin touches it. At that time I just thought "Cool", and forgot about it. But today I read this article which explains why the industry isn't using it. I've always believed that of all the economic systems, capitalism is the best. As Ayn Rand put it, "Money is the barometer of a society's virtue." But when an entire industry puts money before safety, like now, and like they did with cars and Ralph Nader, I wonder, what now? Should money be held as the highest virtue even when it puts the society at a greater risk? I am confused... so capitalists, objectivists, libertarians, tell me what would you have done?

"Should money be held as the highest virtue even when it puts the society at a greater risk?"

You're confusing concepts here. Money is not a "virtue". Money is a Value. Working to make wealth is a virtue.

When Rand said that Money is the barometer of a society's virtue, she was talking about the principle of production, creation, invention, trade, and reason that makes wealth and money possible.
Thus, a society with abundant wealth is being virtuous in its actions that created all their wealth.

The "risks" as you call them, have no relation with money. If you are trying to refer to nefarious men who try to make money through irrational, unscrupulous means, you should realize that their actions are at fault, not the value of money.
You quoted Rand about Money, and in that very same discussion, Rand further goes on to talk about the issue of gaining wealth through dishonest means... and the results/effects of that. Read it.
You are right. Money is a value, not a virtue. Thanks for the correction.

I am not referring to nefarious men who make money through irrational, unscruplous means. What I am asking is this, shouldn't money take a back seat to consumer safety? I don't think the executives of the power-tool industry would be dishonest men, but why wouldn't they adopt a technology that would make saws a lot safer? Sawstop can prevent thousands of injuries each year, but the industry won't use it for fear of "ligitation". Obviously, their concern is the bottom-line, but is it the right to place it above everything else?
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