Mark Schapiro's The Directive does to huge swaths of the consumer landscape what Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation did to the assembly line version of a burger and fries. The results of his work are unsettling.
The Directive should be required reading for anyone concerned about their health. It is one of the most important books on consumer safety you will ever read. Mark Schapiro's revelations will spark a sea change in the way American consumers think about everyday products, as well as the future of environmentalism and the roles we can all play in protecting ourselves from a variety of hidden dangers.
Exploring the changes in the European Union--where stricter consumer safety standards have forced multinationals into manufacturing safer products--Schapiro's exposi shows that, short of strong government intervention, America will lose whatever claim it had to commercial supremacy. Increasingly, its products are equated with serious health hazards, the same hazards that the European Parliament is legislating out of existence in its powerful trading block.
Increasingly, the world looks to Europe for solutions to the most pressing issues of our time, from new energy development, to the environment, to basic human rights like universal health care and a decent standard of living. The United States is in decline. Even China, the world's largest consumer market, now argues that the only way to avoid an environmental meltdown is to follow the path forged by the Europeans.
In The Directive Schapiro takes the reader inside this power shift, which has gone almost wholly unreported in the United States. He shines a light on Europe's evolving search for higher standards that has allowed Brussels, and not Washington, to emerge as the center for global markets innovation in the 21st century. Schapiro's revelations will anger some readers, and inspire still others to action.