Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Legislate or innovate?

At 9 am in a seminar today David Kester, CEO of the UK Design Council, appeared holding a beer glass.  I was somewhat surprised by this, but he used it to make an interesting point.   It turns out that there are, in the UK, 87,000 violent incidents involving fights with glass each year, many of them in pubs.  So rather than ban them, there was a contest to design glasses that did not shatter.  And indeed the designs did it, using some form of resin holding the glass together.  Interesting to see  a market solution to what seems like a regulation problem.  More is here. 

2 comments:

  1. This is a great example and a good point, but it isn't purely a "market solution". The market might not have come up with this solution without the competition having been held - so perhaps it's an example of how the state or third sector can leverage market forces to achieve a social aim?

    On top of this, you also need to get pubs etc. to switch to non-shattering glasses, which the market may or may not do by itself.

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  2. Thanks Andrew and yes I agree with you. Perhaps I should have been more precise: what Mr Kester was saying, I think, that rather then spend time on drafting legislation to prevent and enforce, spending time on the competition was the best allocation of that limited resource.

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