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God states things so simply. Manufacturers have the responsibility to produce high quality, fairly priced products. According to a report from the National Journal, dangerous or misused products result in 28,000 deaths and 130,000 serious injuries each year. Certainly, the manufacturer has a rightful claim to a profit, but he should not attempt to increase his profits improperly at the expense of the consumer, the public at large, or nature.
Many will recall what happened at the Ford Motor Company several years ago. Even after fairly low-speed rear-end crashes, the Ford Pinto was known to burst into flames. Internal memos showed that Ford knew of the danger yet refused to recall the cars and install a $10 shield because the total fleet-wide cost would exceed the cost of an occasional lawsuit. However, 27 people died in rear-end crashes involving the Pinto.
Notice how clear and insistent God is that businessmen deal fairly with the public: "Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the LORD. . . . Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and dishonest scales are not good" (Proverbs 20:10, 23). Proverbs 16:11 adds, "Honest weight and scales are the LORD's; all the weights in the bag are His work [margin, concern]." Why are they His concern? Because the sin of stealing is involved, and as we have just seen, even death can result.
Micah 6:10-12 sets this sin in a historical context, showing that sly cheating by businessmen is no minor affair to Him. Amos 8:5-7 adds further evidence that, in His judgment, secretive business thievery that takes advantage of the unwary is in no way beneath His notice. Ezekiel 45:9-12 extends the sin of thievery into the realm of religion as God makes charges against those involved.
God demands clearly set and well-advertised standards, and He expects people to conform to them. We must understand, too, that the spirit of the principles involved in dealing fairly with one's neighbor reach out to include things like false advertising, doctors who perform unnecessary operations (a third are unnecessary, according to the American Medical Association), and lawyers who enter into unnecessary, and in many cases, frivolous litigation in behalf of a client.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Eighth Commandment