Big business and the extension of regulation

by Walter Olson on December 15, 2010

There’s a curiously contemporary ring in these reports from the early days of federal food safety regulation (Roy Childs via Arnold Kling):

…Regulation in general, far from coming against the wishes of the regulated interests, was openly welcomed by them in nearly every case. As Upton Sinclair said of the meat industry, which he is given credit for having tamed, “the federal inspection of meat was historically established at the packers’ request. … It is maintained and paid for by the people of the United States for the benefit of the packers.”

…In any case, congressional hearings during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt revealed that “the big Chicago packers wanted more meat inspection both to bring the small packers under control and to aid them in their position in the export trade.” Formally representing the large Chicago packers, Thomas E. Wilson publicly announced: “We are now and have always been in favor of the extension of the inspection.”