Pro-active commerce, Reactive government. From the BBC: “A Japanese company has begun making stab-resistant coats and sweatshirts as fears about public safety rise following a series of gruesome attacks. Madre, the maker, said it was providing the products in response to requests from worried… [Mises Economics Blog: Austrian Economics and Libertarian Political Theory]
This sounds suspiciously like snake oil, especially because of this part:
bq. The jackets and tops look ordinary, but are made from fibre-glass and ‘Specter’ — a treated plastic used in bullet-proof vests.
By ‘Specter’ the author probably means Spectra, which was used in body armor until people discovered that it breaks down and becomes useless after exposure to high temperatures (which can happen easily if it’s left in the trunk of a car on a hot day).
That’s not the worst of it, though. Armor designed to defeat bullets will do nothing against stabbing weapons–reputable armor manufacturers such as Second Chance and BulletProofME sell specialized anti-stab armor. This is not the same thing as anti-ballistic armor, although you can buy vests that do both if you have a sufficiently large budget.
Personally, I think the parents buying this stuff are motivated more by hysteria than reason, and their kids are far more likely to suffer heat stroke from wearing armor than they are to be stabbed. But if the parents really have to buy their kids armor, they should look for a reputable manufacturer that sells armor for prison guards (also known as “correctional armor”). That way at least they’ll have something that really works.