The nature of Govt regulations
Will Democrats dare to impeach Bush?

The nature of Govt regulations

Ravikiran has an absolutely wonderful post on problems with govt. regulations.
Link: The Examined Life � Blog Archive � Most blogs are terrible.

That may be the cynical answer, but this is true even if the government weren’t corrupt. Applying for permissions, filling out forms etc. are a chore and act as a deterrent even when there is no bribing involved. ...

Regulations have a tendency to increase. This happens for four reasons. One is government officials’ own desire to increase their power and intrude more. The second is that once you have regulations, the quality of blogs will become the government’s responsibility. Which means that everytime there is a failure of regulation, the public demands to know how it is possible that the one bad blog snuck through inspite of the regulations. The government’s usual answer to that is to increase regulations. The third is that the more regulations you have, it gets progressively tougher to keep the regulations fair, which means that it is impossible to satisfy everyone. ...
The demands for fairness from different groups end up obliging the government to add more regulations in a futile attempt to satisfy them. The fourth reason is that to prevent abuse of discretionary power by lower level officials, regulations start getting more and more detailed. When this happens corruption at the lower levels of the bureaucracy may reduce because the corruption shifts to the regulation-making process (see the USA, for example).

What is really frustrating to me is that inspite of such a terrible track record many people continue to support government regulations. And my impression is that people support government regulation for reasons other than their immediate self-interests. For example, all the people that I talked to opposed unlicensed cabs inspite of the fact that it will lower the cab fares.


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