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Enumerated enucleating effluence

Marschweitzer Smithburg

It was sold as floss. Technically, it was made of carbon nanofibers that leaked hazardous radiation and microscopic silica that would corrode your lungs. Using it as floss would be a terribly deadly mistake. Floss that could kill you. Who would market such a thing?

Well it turned out, the Marschweitzer Smithburg Company would. Right next to their toxic lead baby shampoo and their skin whitening cream laden with asbestos. The MS Company was responsible for half of the "scapegoat poisons" market. Essentially, they were paid by other companies to put poisonous products on the shelves to make those companies look better.

"Oh we test on animals? Fucking boo-hoo, our competitors sell poison! We're the good guys here."

Of course, this could only come about because of the defunding of the FDA. At some point, purse tightening legislators aimed squarely at any federal regulation agencies. They claimed at the time that "The market will find a solution". Which was true of course. In the absence of regulation, customer outrage was the regulating agency. So, the market came up with a solution: create an outrage sink. Who could really spend time to worry about the cereal that had less iron in it than it ought when there was another cereal on the shelves that was literally deadly?

The Marschweitzer Smithburg company made a killing. Every company with a consumer product wanted to compete against them, so they had plenty of customers. Actual consumers rarely bought their products these days. At first they did, which resulted in a lot of deaths. But, when wave after wave of lawsuits failed, it became clear that MS products were here to stay, and people learned to avoid them

With no legal recourse, many angry family members of those killed by MS took to vigilante justice. Vigilante justice, of course, is just a security problem. One you can pay to be rid of. Paying for a private security army to protect the executives and product designers of the company just got rolled into the costs. The price of litigation was rolled into the costs. The cost of paying Marschweitzer Smithburg to create terrible deadly competing products was still cheaper than improving your own product. So, as any rational economic agent would do, they paid MS, and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

Eventually, competitors to MS showed up in the market wanting a piece of the action. They promised ever more horrible, toxic and deadly products, for a fraction of the price MS would charge. They didn't need a protection budget quite as large because their executives worked over the internet anonymously. All of their supply chain was paid anonymously, through intermediaries. Digital obfuscation was much cheaper than protecting public figures around the clock.

MS saw these upstarts and began fretting about their monopoly. Their executives were already notorious, there was no way to go anonymous now and use the same tactics. So, it was decided to try to get the government to intervene. After generously donating to several campaigns, they were able to get a bill drafted that required purveyors of deadly goods to register their identities with a publically accessible database. This neatly side-stepped the problem. Unfortunately for Marschweitzer Smithburg and its executives, a rider was placed on that bill that re-funded the FDA.

The next year, the executives of Marschweitzer Smithburg were all in prison. And, since many inmates happened to have relatives killed by the company, it wasn't long before most of them had accidental slips in the shower, happening to result in broken necks. The company's profits dropped quickly, and it was bankrupt a mere twelve years later. In the meantime, it employed over 70 thousands workers and produced enormous investor value.

  • fiction