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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Regulations Provide The Basis For Civilization

As Steven Benen notes, the GOP continues its war on reality and regulations.  This despite the fact that good business people recognize the need and desirability of regulations because they actually help businesses do, um...business.

Indeed, going all the way back to Capitalist Hero, Adam Smith, it's been understood that regulation is a necessary part of civilization and government.  He supported such things as:

  • Sterling marks on plate and stamps on linen and woollen cloth (WN138–9); - consumer protection!
  • regulation of institutions, such as company structures (joint- stock companies, co-partneries, regulated companies and so on) (WN731–58); - how dare the government interfere!
  • government restrictions on interest for borrowing (usury laws) to overcome investor ‘stupidity’ (WN356–7); - weird the banksters never mention this.

One could look at regulation merely in the vein of Federalist 51If [businesses] were angels, no government [regulation] would be necessary.  But it's in businesses' interest to have regulatory structure in place.

You want to talk about "certainty"?  Consider the certainy and confidence that customers have in products if there are minimal safety and labeling standards for drugs, food, appliance, vehicles and even toys.  WIthout these things, consumers might be less likely to take any risks purchasing something which might harm them or their children.  Without standards for regulating corporations, investors might trade less stock and deny companies necessary capital.  Without banking standards, people might deposit or borrow less money, which fuels our economy.

And if there is a standard framework, everybody in a particular industry enjoys a modicum of certainty in knowing all players are operating under the same rules.  For example, while the Right has screamed about a "ban" on incandescent lightbulbs, there has been a great deal of manufacturer support for the efficiency standards passed under Bush because they have spurred innovation.  There's a floor below which nobody can go, enabling companies to create better light sources, including improved incandescents, that they know won't be undercut by slightly cheaper, significantly less-efficient products.

Just as they are wrong about cutting taxes and human services in an economic morass, the GOP is also wrong about regulations.  Gut them, and you will create only chaos, confusion and uncertainty.  You will also likely diminish demand even further, which is the real problem in the first place.


September 27, 2011 | Permalink


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it's me again. don't yell.

I miss you. will you ever come back to eschaton. cause it is really not as fun without you.


Posted by: Little Boots | Sep 27, 2011 2:21:08 AM

There's also this to consider: the GOP is long since filled not with conservatives but with right-wing radical extremists. Thus something that should make sense to a serious conservative may have no impact on a GOPer.

Back at the beginning of the GeeDubya Bush reign, I voiced that opinion to a friend from childhood (and later colleague) who is regrettably of the conservative persuasion. He agreed with me.

(OT, your link to my blog is two versions out of date. I'm just sayin'...)

Posted by: Steve Bates | Oct 4, 2011 12:21:30 AM

It is fixed, ya salty dog.

Posted by: NTodd Pritsky | Oct 4, 2011 8:35:14 AM

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