Standards III

The thing about putting a group of people in charge of standards and creating standards, is that you risk desiring to create standards for everything. It’s like suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and wanting to make sure everything is so spick and span. And they may lose sight of what standards are there for. Who are standards supposed to serve?

Should they be serving a nation? Should they be there to allow regulators to generate revenue through audits/inspection? Should they be serving an industry? To keep new entrants out and maintain some kind of tacit collusive oligopolistic market structure? Should they be serving the customer? But what about those who are not yet customers but could potentially be once the standards are flexed, tweaked?

Every standard seeks to exclude. That’s the reason they exist. So are we serving the wider society when we exclude? Who is benefitting from the standards, and who is helping to perpetuate the standards? Should we allow monopolies to change a standard in ways that benefit themselves? How can we ensure they put back what they take from the society?

I think these are more important to consider for those who are put in charge of standards. It’s not just about convening committees and putting together paper work.