The development of the law of products liability is historically related to industrial growth, business and economic expansion, and the growing demand over the years for consumer protection. As the industrial system has come of age and man has begun to make excursions into outer space, the ancient principle of caveat emptor-"let the buyer beware" has been significantly changed in favor of the consumer. As we emerged from the ancient mercantile society, where the seller and buyer usually met and bargained, to an impersonal market characterized by corporate organization, industrial and technological advancement and complexity, and sophisticated marketing and finance, the law changed in response to the new circumstances. Although the shift from caveat emptor to the promulgation of judicial and legislative rules, safeguards and standards, enlarging the legal rights of the buyer and consumer, came slowly and irregularly in the United States, greater strides have been made in the development of products liability law in the last decade than were made in the entire preceding century. This greater advance can be accounted for by the scientific and economic explosion following World War II and by the greater concern and emphasis being placed on human loss and injury resulting from defective products than on commercial loss suffered by the buyer.
Caveat Emptor to Strict Liability: One Hundred Years of Products Liability Law,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol4/iss2/1