How do government regulatory agencies help protect consumers?
Most government regulatory agencies act as oversight on the business and production practices of corporations. Most agree that without a certain amount of oversight -- and thus accountability -- many corporations would act unethically or produce products deceptively harmful to consumers.
The most common method of government regulation is the installation of a specific agency to oversee national production of a specific product or group of products. For example, the Food and Drug Administration oversees and approves food and drug items for sale in the U.S., keeping companies that seek FDA approval to strict standards. This results in many medications being held back until their safety is proven in studies, but it also prevents many medications from being sold as they cannot be proven safe. Inspectors from the FDA tour plants and laboratories, examining both the products and the processes, and determining whether the company is keeping to ethical standards. Regulatory agencies also take steps to prevent corporations from acting unethically in business; for example, antitrust laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission prevent large corporations from merging to create a monopoly.
Regulatory agencies are a contraversial part of government, but in many cases they are necessary and even beneficial.