Until the late '70's, such outlet strips were common in UL's own lab- yet none were listed by UL.
UL was in a quandry: these things were obviously useful, but there was some concern as to how the standards would be set. Several basic NEC issues arose:
-what kind of mounting was proper?
-Did the use of SO cord and a plug conflic with the NEC prohibition on the use of temporary methods in place of permanent wiring?
-What about the NEC stipulation of 90 watts per plug for load calculations? The limitation of the number of receptacles per circuit in non-residential applications?
This was not entirely new ground; UL already listed many outlet assemblies that had been listed as components of appliances.
Eventually, UL decided to consider them as "temporary power taps." As such, UL determined that there could be no easy way to permanently mount the device- or it was obviously intended for permanent use.
Since then, technology has advanced to the point that power quality is very important for many things, such as computers. We have also seen entire families of appliances that are intended to be used together (TV/VHS/Stereo, Computer/printer/monitor, etc.). These outlet strips have become a very easy way to incorporate surge suppression.
Can anything be mis-used, over-used, or mishandled by fools? Yes. No code change will ever protect against such things. Nor will we ever eliminate the temptation to cut corners, plan poorly, or failures to predict future needs.
A lot of things would be nice. It would be nice if applianced were made to plug into each other; it ould be nice if enouch receptacles were installed in appropriate locations; it would be nice if desks had their own power distribution centers built in. It would also be nice if management would admit that one microwave isn't enough for 100 people, that setting the thermostat at 60 only means the secretaries will smuggle in space heaters, etc.
The American way is to let the individual, through market actions, make his own informed choices. We, in the trade, have to not only try to anticipate the customers' real needs, but also to educate the customer as to the importance of his decisions.
Let's be careful that we don't let "ideal" or "perfect" become the enemy of "barely adequate."