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Reblogged:23andMe - The Birth of the Crony Capitalist

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The FDA has now allowed 23andMe to give their customers some health-related information. This is not everything: it is only the results tat the FDA considers more reliable.

On the face, this might look like a good thing, but it is probably the first step to corrupting one more little industry. Already, 23andMe is running ads saying it is the only genetic testing company offering FDA-approved health results. This is really deceptive because the FDA only approved a small sliver of their tests and because competitors can do the same even if the FDA has not approved them yet.

Consider the people who run 23andMe. Until recently they were fighting against FDA control. Now, how would they view a competitor who wants to offer a non-approved test? They'll probably insist on a "level playing field". Fast forward a year or two and they'll have a relationship with the FDA and may even sue a competitor who tries to offer something new saying it does not need FDA approval. Fast forward a few more years and they would have employed some ex-government folk, and would have initiated joint sessions where they try to get ahead of the FDA, by laying out what they think the rules and standards ought to be. That's when outsiders will scream "regulatory capture".

Two decades ago, Wal*Mart was proud to have a very tiny lobbying office. Microsoft boasted almost no "Washington-man" until the government came after them. Google started that way too. Step-by-step, each of them learnt how to play the game until, finally, they're close enough to government that libertarians can re-write history and say that businessmen are the evil drivers behind "crony capitalism". No, all along it is the idiot citizen buying something at Wal*Mart saying "they should be forced to pay their workers better", or installing Windows and saying "they should be forced to install their competitors' products automatically", or "they should be forced to give me search results for free", or "they should be forced to get approval from government panels before they offer me genetic tests".

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