I have the very strong feeling, that trying to regulate the world in a way that everything we can buy is good, is not gonna happen and more important never can happen. That’s for quite a few reasons:
- If you want to buy “good” things only, you have to define what’s “good”. Just asking all the users here in the forum will aleady result in numerous definitions, although you will have asked “fair” (another vague term) oriented people only.
You will have to compromise and find a way to balance the varying and differing interests.
- Taking a look at the Fairphone story, the blog entries and the huge amount of global factors that need to be considered, I wonder who will even try to start writing down all the necessary rules. Just for one product or group of products you will end up writing a library, as there are way more things to be considered than comes to mind in the first instant.
- Regulation needs to be consistent and without loopholes, which is that much harder and the less likely to achieve, the more complicated the regulation becomes.
Already now there are attempts to do good by tightening the regulations like limiting the power-consumption of vacuum-cleaners, banning (old) light-bulbs, setting limits for emission (e.g. for diesel cars), promoting and stimulating renewable energy.
For all of these examples - if you look them up - you will find heated discussions regarding the sense and necessity of those regulations. Loosing freedom to choose is just one of the complaints (btw. to me the most unreasonable of all arguments, demanding a choice to pollute the environment).
Another problem is, that the things we consider good right now might turn out to be bad or even devastating later. A few years ago it was state of the art, being support by subvention to insulate each and every house.
Nowadays the hype seems to be kind of over, as lots of those insulated houses have (heavy) problems with mould, the insulation might be inflammable and consist of plastics, that can’t be recycled, if they don’t even have worse impact on the environment.
It shows that old houses kind of need some ventilation by doors and windows that are not closing tight.
Well, that’s just a few initial thoughts that I had, when reading your questions. All the global problems and the (in case of strict regulations) emerging competition/industry for finding loopholes etc. will have to be considered as well.
And as an afterthought, I don’t think that we will or should ever be spared from deciding on our own and from having to stand and be “judged” by our decisions. There will always be our responsibility, however tight regulations become.