Japan Reverses Ban On Second-Hand Electronics
from the property-rights-saved dept
Good news for anyone in Japan that owns consumer electronics, the government has decided to reverse a ban on selling such goods used. Although ostensibly put in place because older products don't adhere to new safety regulations, the ban clearly seemed like a subsidy to electronics makers, upset that anyone else might profit from their products. Not only would this have been a disturbing expansion of the "no right to resale" principle, usually applicable just to digital goods (like an iTunes track), it would have been bad for the electronics makers as well. Such a ban would have made consumers less likely to buy new goods, as it would raise the implicit cost of the product -- imagine how poorly the car market would function if you couldn't trade your old one in. There's clearly a lot of value in old consumer electronics and Japan is wise not to have killed this market. Update: A commenter has correctly pointed out that Japan hasn't technically reversed the ban, but has merely indicated that used electronics could still be rented out under the existing law. Rent, however, will probably be defined loosely, so that the transaction will resemble a sale. Either way, the announcement betrays the idea that the law is somehow about safety, as the products can still get to consumers.