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Rebalancing Personal and Economic Freedom with Regulation
David Vance

Last modified: 2011-09-07


Abstract:  Most people agree that government regulation is excessive, but they lack a principled basis for deciding the appropriate level of regulation.

Regulation is making the United States uncompetitive. That means it is going to lose jobs, companies, entrepreneurs and human capital to other countries. In fact, it has lost jobs, companies, entrepreneurs and human capital already and that trickle of a loss may turn into a flood.

                In theory democracy is a self-correcting system. When government loses step with the people, the people can vote out those who are unresponsive to the will of the people. Unfortunately, democracy’s theoretical self-correcting nature is thwarted by several factors. Lobbyists petition legislators in ways the public never sees and cannot match; regulators are frequently captured by the industries they are supposed to regulate; special interests concentrate political contributions and possibly most daunting bureaucracies are insulated from public pressure to correct inequities. 

                On the other hand, no one wants to allow child labor, to have to test their own drugs or to personally inspect the plane they fly on. So, there is baseline agreement that some regulation is needed. The issue is how much.

                The issue is how does one arrive at a principled balance between needed regulation and maximum personal and economic freedom.


Regulation, Law, Economic Freedom, Competitiveness