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?

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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