If you listened to Hewitt and Arnn yesterday (subscription required) you heard a lot about the Churchillian vision for a united Europe and what the European Union has actually become. Hewitt kept discussing Brexit in terms of throwing off the regulatory state. With Obamacare, people are sort of getting a taste of the regulatory state – but even that is indirect, coming to the average consumer in the form of longer lines, higher co-pays and more costly insurance. The European regulatory state is far more onerous, but it to remains relatively unobtrusive to the average consumer.
As a consultant to manufacturers, many of whom sell their goods into Europe, I have a taste of the European regulatory state that I thought I would share. Most people have heard about “conflict diamonds.” That is to say diamonds mined in countries that are in a state of conflict with the West in some fashion, they engage in slavery or other generally considered illicit practices. There was a DiCaprio movie about them some years ago and the Brosnan Bond film “Die Another Day” was about Bond uncovering a huge operation for laundering such diamonds and then using the profits to conquer the world. Well, there are more than just conflict diamonds, there are conflict minerals generally, and thus in steps the EU. (For the record, Dodd-Frank contained conflict mineral provisions as well, but it was tacking on to an existing EU effort.) Continue Reading