Regulation

Not All Regulation Is Bad

Just the kind imposed by governments

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City transport regulators have banned or hindered Uber and Lyft from operating, even though the public loves their convenience and drivers find the apps a good way to make money on their own terms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prevents sick people from trying certain drugs that their doctors would like them to try and drug companies would like to sell them; many Americans who can afford it travel to other countries to get medicines the FDA denies them here. Banking regulation in America now prevents community bankers from making loans based on their judgment and knowledge of their would-be borrowers; the rules force lenders instead to follow formulas imposed by the regulators.

Government regulation is a problem. Through restrictions and mandates, it prohibits exchanges that peaceful people would like to make and requires transactions they do not wish to enter into. Thus it interferes with our liberty to interact as we choose.

But what do we do about it?

It won't do simply to say, "Let's deregulate," meaning to get rid of regulation altogether, because everybody wants what regulation is supposed to provide us: regularity and predictability in markets and assurance of quality and safety in the goods and services we buy.

When we get in a taxi or an Uber, we want to know that the driver is peaceable and responsible and that the car is in good condition. When we take a medicine, we want to know that it is safe and effective. When we put our money in a bank, we want to know that it has enough capital that we won't lose our savings if the institution has a run of bad luck. In short, we want goods and services to be well-regulated.

So it seems that we are stuck: Government regulation almost always denies liberty and usually causes economic harm, but we want the regularity, predictability, and quality assurance that regulation is supposed to provide. Does that mean the best we can do is to accept government regulation but try to rein it in, to limit it, to reduce the harm it does?

No. It is a semantic error to assume that regulation means government regulation. In fact, there is no such thing as an unregulated free market, because markets free of government regulation are very closely regulated by the choices and actions of market participants. And market forces regulate quality and safety better than government agencies can.

Regulation by Market

To regulate is to make regular and orderly, to hold to a standard, to control according to rule, as a thermostat regulates the temperature in a building.

Market forces do this constantly. Competing businesses offer what they hope will be a good value, then customers choose among the various offerings, then the competing businesses react to customers' and competitors' choices. That process is the market's regulator.

To take an example of market regulation so ubiquitous that many people don't even notice it, market forces regulate prices.

If the Giant supermarket near my home is charging $2 a pound for red peppers, the more upscale Eddie's Market will not be able to charge a whole lot more than that and still sell many red peppers. Neither will other grocery stores or the farm stands that open nearby in the summer. All will charge nearly the same price. There is strong regularity to the prices of red peppers at any place and time. This regulation is accomplished by each seller's response to the actions of his customers and competitors.

The same goes for quality. Consumers won't buy peppers that aren't fresh and firm if they think they can get better peppers at some other store. The grocers might wish they could sell last week's peppers that are getting soft on the shelf, but customers, along with the self-interested actions of other stores, won't let them. Their customers' choices and competitors' actions restrict the quality of produce they can sell. In this manner, market forces regulate quality.

The quality of red peppers can be directly observed. But what about goods and services whose quality and safety cannot be directly observed? We can't observe the criminal record of some taxi or Uber driver who comes to pick us up. We can't know by looking at it what side effects a medicine might cause. We can't observe the capital adequacy of a bank where we consider putting our savings.

In such cases we need somebody else who can give us assurances that the goods and services we consume are safe and of good quality. Enterprises in markets provide that kind of assurance all the time, in several ways.

Usually we don't just buy a product; we buy the product plus some assurance of its quality. Often, in fact, the quality assurance becomes a feature of the product.

One way is with branding. A brand like Sony or Black & Decker tells the customer, "You can trust this product." The company stakes its extremely valuable reputation on it. The same goes for franchises, which are brands of another kind. When we see the Holiday Inn sign, we know what to expect from a room there. It is not going to be great, but it will be clean and adequate.

While brands and franchises do give assurance of quality, the assurance is coming from the same company that wants to sell us the product. Such assurance is not always persuasive. Often we want assurance from some objective, outside, third-party assurer. The market provides these in abundance also.

There are third-party certifiers whose whole business is to provide reliable assurance of quality. Underwriters Laboratories is pre-eminent here. Manufacturers voluntarily pay that organization to assist in product design, to test their products, and to give them the famous U.L. seal of approval. Both customers and the manufacturers themselves want outside assurance that their products are safe and effective. (The manufacturer does not want to get sued.) Similarly, Good Housekeeping and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) give their seals of approval to, or withhold them from, various enterprises and their products. Credit-rating enterprises such as Moody's, Fitch, and S&P appraise financial instruments. (They did a bad job of this with mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, showing that they themselves were ineffectively regulated. But note that they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission rather than by market forces.)

Then there are information providers, such as industry magazines and a variety of online quality-rating enterprises—among them PC Magazine's "Editors' Choice" awards, Angie's List, Carfax, Yelp, and Nextdoor. More recently there have arisen internet-based sharing and connecting services, such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Thumbtack, a website for sourcing and then reviewing local professionals of various kinds. With respect to quality assurance, these are particularly robust: Their customer ratings make every consumer an inspector.

I saw the significance of these third-party certifiers up close recently when I hired a paver for my driveway. His pitch on Thumbtack, where I found him, begins, "We are a licensed contractor." OK, that's government's regulation. But then he immediately adds, "and accredited by the BBB," a private-sector certifier. Then comes his main pitch: "We also have an excellent reputation on Angie's List, winning the Super Service Award every year since 2010!!!" This contractor relies on private accreditation more than on government licensing, and so did I.

Providers of goods and services typically have insurance. So insurance companies become still another source of quality assurance. They have a financial incentive to make sure their clients' products are safe and of good quality—by requiring U.L. certification, for example—because they don't want to write checks to people who sue their clients.

How effective are these market institutions at giving us the kind of regulation we want? More, I'll argue, than government institutions are. Indeed, since government regulation is top-down, with the public exerting control only indirectly through the political process, government regulation is itself nearly unregulated. This is a flaw that makes it unresponsive to the public's wants and needs. Regulation by market forces, by contrast, is bottom-up, with the public exerting control directly in the market. It is not perfect—nothing human is perfect—but it works pretty well, and it is very responsive to the public's wants and needs.

Government Failure

How do different localities regulate the safety and quality of ride services, such as taxis, Uber, and Lyft? They do so via an agency—a public service commission or a taxi commission, say—that imposes various restrictions and mandates on the service providers aimed at preventing bad outcomes and promoting good ones.

But suppose that agency does a bad job. What regulates the regulator? Suppose, for example, that the agency is in bed with existing taxi companies threatened by ride-sharing services and therefore bans the operation of Uber and Lyft. Agencies did this for a while in Austin, Texas, and in Buffalo, New York. Or suppose the agency merely obstructs the operation of ride-sharing companies, as the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission did last December when it imposed minimum-wage rules on ride-sharing drivers. Such actions are directly against the interest of the public, who value these ride-sharing services. How is the regulatory agency's bad performance to be improved?

State or local legislatures are supposed to regulate the performance of their regulatory agencies. In some cases, they do. Several state legislatures, for example, have passed laws forbidding localities from interfering with ride sharing. But not all. Some legislatures are also in bed with the taxi companies and regulate in their interest rather than the public's.

When legislatures fail, who is supposed to regulate them? Members of the public, in their role as voters.

But the voters are not in a good position to affect the regulation of ride services or any other industry. Many people don't vote. Many who do vote are not interested in ride services. Most of those who are interested are what economists call "rationally ignorant." That is, it makes little sense for them to inform themselves about candidates' positions, because the chance that their vote will determine the outcome of an election is vanishingly small. So they vote without knowing what candidates think about ride-sharing regulation. They're also choosing among candidates who hold positions on many issues other than transportation, issues the voters may care about more. Accordingly, it is impossible for voters to weigh in on just the regulation of ride services. Plus, they vote only once every two years. This is a hopelessly indirect and attenuated way for the public to affect the regulation of ride sharing, or anything else.

A Lack-of-Knowledge Problem

Bank capital is a kind of cushion, a layer of cash a bank holds to keep it solvent if it should run into problems such as loans going bad. All banks need to hold some capital, but how much? Holding too much capital means not lending that money out for productive investment. Not holding enough means exposure to risk if the economy goes south. Who should decide what the right amount is, and how?

In the United States today, bank capital adequacy is regulated predominantly by the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). These bodies restrict banks' freedom to operate as they choose in myriad ways, prohibiting certain kinds of investments, requiring others, and dictating how much capital of what kind must be held against each kind of asset.

Have these "regulations" (wouldn't "restrictions and mandates" be a more descriptive term?) worked well to keep financial institutions sound in the last dozen years? Clearly not, as many banks needed capital injections during the financial crisis. Among the problematic regulations were some declaring that the debt of sovereign nations, such as Greece, is risk-free and thereby requires no capital backing. Those rules are still in effect.

In criticizing government regulation of bank capital, I don't mean to imply that the regulators are corrupt or negligent. I believe most of them are competent professionals doing the best they can. But they face what's known as "the knowledge problem"—the fact that central planners cannot know all they need to know in order to plan effectively. Now, planning bank capital requirements is not comprehensive central planning of the whole economy. But bank regulators are still trying to plan the activities of an immensely large and complex sector, one that's intimately intertwined with most other sectors. It is just unrealistic to expect even the smartest and best-informed regulators to get it right. There is too much to know.

If the Fed and the FDIC do not do a good job of regulating bank capital, who is supposed to make them do it better? Congress is. But do its members have the necessary knowledge of monetary and banking history and theory to direct these agencies? Do they have the right incentives to make their decisions based on economics rather than politics? Have they tended to do a good job of regulating the financial regulators? The answers to those questions will differ for different members of Congress, but it seems clear that the majority are deeply ignorant of much of what they are asked to oversee.

If Congress does not regulate the Fed and the FDIC well, the system relies on the voters—rationally ignorant, voting on a package deal once every two or six years—to regulate Congress. As with government regulation of ride sharing, government regulation of bank capital is a deeply flawed process that fails to involve regular people in their role as customers. Better for regulation to be decentralized, distributed, and organic.

The story is similar with medicine. The FDA is charged with assuring quality. Its officials impose a variety of costly testing requirements on pharmaceutical companies and restrict the sale of any new drug or medical device for as long as they see fit. Their understandable but excessive caution has pushed the cost of getting a new drug from conception to market into the neighborhood of $1 billion. It has denied many patients access to drugs they and their doctors wish them to take, it has slowed the development of new therapies, and it has inhibited development of medicines for rare diseases.

If the FDA is misregulating through excessive caution, who is to regulate the FDA? Once again, Congress is, and voters are to regulate Congress if it fails in its task. Thus we face the same problems we saw above with government regulation of bank capital.

In contrast, let's consider how market processes regulate (or could regulate) the same three industries if they were free of government meddling.

Free Market Transportation

Regulation of quality and safety in ride services would be based on the choices not of bureaucrats but of the public, in the role of riders, not voters. They would choose among different offerings of taxi companies, ride-sharing companies, and any alternatives that might arise. In the absence of any government quality-assuring agency, the public would need to rely on quality-assuring enterprises.

Much of this assurance would come from brands. Taxi and ride-sharing companies seek to establish and maintain a reputation for good service. In a free market, they would set their own standards for background checks on drivers, inspection of vehicles, promptness of service, and the like, and then they would publicize those standards. Uber and Lyft do this now. Their background-checking procedures are more robust than those of many taxi commissions, and their driver rating process makes every customer an inspector. Additional assurance of taxi companies' quality would be provided by third-party certifiers such as Angie's List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.

What assures the quality of the quality assurance offered by taxi companies, Uber, Lyft, Angie's List, Yelp, and others? Once again, it is the choices of the market participants involved, to which their competitors must respond. Consumers use Angie's List or Yelp (or both) to research taxi companies, and they reward those that provide the most useful and accurate information by returning to those sites. Taxi companies reward the best certifiers by displaying the certifications on their websites. Drivers reward Uber or Lyft (for good quality assurance, among other factors) by choosing to drive with one or the other. Anyone who lets quality slip, from the third-party certifiers to the taxi or ride-sharing companies to the individual drivers, tends to lose business.

This process of quality assurance is not perfect, but it is quick, fine-grained, and relentless. With respect to quality and safety, it makes taxi commissions at best an obsolete nuisance and at worst an impediment to progress.

Free Market Banking

The market process regulated bank capital until the Federal Reserve began central planning of the money supply in 1914. Until then, banks issued not only their own checking accounts but also their own banknotes.

To keep down the cost of exchanging these notes and checks with one another for payment, banks joined one or more clearinghouse associations. Each day the checks and notes for all the banks in the association were brought to the clearinghouse, where the mutual obligations were "cleared"—offsetting IOUs were canceled and the net obligations were paid.

Market-based bank capital regulation arose out of this system, because the banks in any clearinghouse association wanted assurance that their sister banks within the association were sound. Accordingly, they agreed, as a condition of membership in the association, to maintain the minimum capital requirements set by that association. They also agreed to periodic inspection of their accounts to make sure they were fulfilling their promises.

In this system, the quality-assuring entities—the capital adequacy regulators—were private-sector clearinghouse associations, not government agencies. What regulated their decisions? Market forces did: the choices of the market participants in the face of experience.

If a clearinghouse required its members to hold more capital than prudence required, those banks would not be able to make as many loans and would not prosper as they otherwise might have. Potential customers would take their business to banks in other clearinghouse associations with more appropriate capital requirements, and those banks would expand as a result.

Conversely, if a clearinghouse required less capital than the economic realities dictated, when an economic downturn occurred, some of its members would fail or have difficulties meeting their obligations to their partners in the clearinghouse. This problem would signal that the clearinghouse association needed to raise its capital requirements.

Note the way this process of bank capital regulation, and regulation of that regulation, takes into account the distributed knowledge and experience of different bankers in different times and places, and note how it provides the flexibility to adjust capital requirements in response to those differences. The knowledge and judgments of thousands go into the final rule. How different that is from top-down government regulation, in which decisions are made by bureaucrats based on their own limited knowledge and the political pressures of the time.

Market-based banking regulation was a constant work in progress, but it was still better than what we have had since. Remember that both the Great Depression and the financial crisis of 2008 happened on the Fed's watch.

Free Market Medicine

What of medicines? How would market forces, free of FDA interference, regulate their quality and safety? There would still be extensive testing of the safety and efficacy of different drugs, because everyone in the industry values such information. The testing would be done by the private sector—but then, so is the testing required by the FDA.

In addition to testing for FDA purposes, a tremendous amount of research is constantly being conducted by doctors and other researchers around the world, at medical schools and research hospitals and within pharmaceutical companies themselves. This research is presented at innumerable medical conferences and published in such journals as The LancetThe Journal of the American Medical Association, and The New England Journal of Medicine, among countless others.

These research institutions and publications are our primary source of information about the quality and safety of particular medicines for particular kinds of patients with particular illnesses. Even now, they are our main quality-assuring institutions. The difference in a market free of FDA restrictions is how that research would be evaluated and who would decide, based on the evidence, whether or not a medicine should be used in a particular case.

The average patient could not evaluate the research and choose therapies unaided. In a free market, patients would rely for help on still another layer of quality-assuring enterprises and individuals: their doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and, indirectly, insurance companies. These would serve to regulate the safety and quality of pharmaceutical offerings. Doctors and pharmacists would make it their business to inform themselves about the safety and effectiveness of medicines. Hospitals, to protect their reputations and to protect themselves from lawsuits, would restrict the medicines that can be administered within their walls. Insurance companies, in their own financial interest, would require the providers they insure to prescribe only medicines that have been tested to standards the insurers deem prudent. All would learn from one another, by experience, what standards of quality and safety assurance are appropriate and which are overkill.

Most of this is true today. Federal officials do determine when drugs may go to market. But how they are used is regulated by market forces. Ultimately, by slowing the introduction of new treatments, the FDA reduces access to care.

Two Sorts of Regulation

With government regulation, the quality-assuring agency is a monopoly; with market regulation, quality-assuring enterprises must compete. With government, the quality-assuring agency is all but unregulated; with markets, quality-assuring enterprises are regulated by market forces. With government, the public votes in elections every few years; with markets, the public "votes" with dollars every day. With government, the public selects among candidates holding positions on many issues; with markets, the public makes a choice about the particular good or service in question.

With government, the regulating agency relies on bureaucrats' knowledge; with markets, the regulatory process draws on knowledge distributed throughout society. With government, bureaucrats face no competition from which to learn how to improve; with markets, enterprises are sharpened by their competitors. With government, the quality-assuring agency can ignore tradeoffs; with markets, quality-assuring enterprises have strong incentives to get the tradeoffs right. With government, there is no evolutionary selection of regulatory standards, methods, and quality assurers; with markets, there is. With government, regulators are vulnerable to "regulatory capture," in which an industry cozies up to the regulating agency and extracts favorable rules; with markets, there is no central authority to capture. Government regulation works by the restriction of choice. Market regulation works by the exercise of choice.

We need regulation of the quality and safety of the goods and services we buy. Because that regulation should be done as well as possible, it should be done by market forces, not by government.

NEXT: California Regulators Shut Down a Distillery for Serving Alcohol

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  1. I think Mr. Baetjer is overly optimistic that the free market can regulate it self in the absence of some government regulation. The suggestion that doctors can review all the medical information and inform patients is unlikely. First line physicians are as likely to be overwhelmed by all the data as the patient. Banks regulating banks? Did we not see problems with this in 2008 when we found that company evaluating things like credit default swaps had ties to the companies they were evaluating. No there is a need for stepped regulation including a government, a market level, and a personal level.

    1. With doctors, professional associations and nonprofits can go a long way toward distilling information.

      With banks, well, if you thinking banking in the 2000s is “free market banking” or anything close then your premise is wrong. CDSs are a great example of free market regulation: they provide un-corrupt ratings of companies and countries, and cannot be so easily swayed. It was the government that privileged ratings agencies, which again are far inferior to CDS markets.

      Ultimately, the problem with government-as-solution is that there is no way to regulate government (without an infinite regress of governments). The premise suggests that government will or can dutifully fulfill its mandate in a way that has never been seen before.

    2. Only you are suggesting that every doctor and banker must review all information relevant to their jobs; and you fail to acknowledge that you take it for granted that government regulators *do* do that.

      What this article says, and what all libertarians say, is that crowd sourcing is far better than distant bureaucrats. Start with the first example, red peppers; no bureaucrat can possibly regulate their quality. At best, they could require that peppers be discarded with so many days of being harvested, which in turn would require all sorts of paperwork showing when peppers had been harvested, shipped, and put on shelves; which would require that all peppers be individually identified from harvest to sale. And nobody in his right mind thinks that would actually improve the quality of peppers, and everybody in his right mind knows it would increase the cost tremendously.

      That same crowd-sourcing carries on though to every other product and industry. You fail to think about it or acknowledge it because it is so common as to be hidden. As the author says, branding is incredibly important to everyone involved, so common that few people recognize it for its quality control. Reputations are vital, everyone knows that instinctively, yet it is so common that few people give it the explicit credit it deserves.

      As you have shown.

      1. Branding is more dependent upon advertising than upon quality, and it’s even less dependent upon value. What makes a Louis Vuitton or Rolex or a Mercedes draw a higher price than a T.J. Max offering or a Toyota is far more dependent upon the sorts of things that advertising and PR people do (myth-management) than upon what the engineers etc. do.

        Furthermore, this article is arguing for no government, and that means no agency to impose standards such as construction codes and mandatory water-testing and other public-safety laws that must be adhered to in order to make c heaters liable not only civilly but also criminally — and violations of such mandatory standards are often the cause of deaths, and of shortened life-spans, and of toxic products, etc.

        1. “What makes a Louis Vuitton or Rolex or a Mercedes draw a higher price than a T.J. Max offering or a Toyota is far more dependent upon the sorts of things that advertising and PR people do (myth-management) than upon what the engineers etc. do.”

          You’re comparing superior goods to inferior goods. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

          A Mercedes will get you to work no more quickly than a Toyota. The differences between them are largely qualitative, and marketing is an important part of how Mercedes differentiates their product on quality. People who want a Mercedes may even want it in no small part because it’s more expensive.

          That isn’t comparable to a Toyota, at all. When Toyota markets their brand, they aren’t trying to get people to believe their cars cost more than others. They market a Toyota as being a great value for the money.

          Two different things.

          P.S. People pass by the no-name brands of cereal and other items in the grocery store all the time–because of the perceived lack of quality associated with them.

        2. Your examples illustrate my point beautifully — branding matters. Reputations matter.

          You may not appreciate the usefulness of the difference, a Toyota may always be a better value for you than the Mercedes,, but you show you know the difference, which is exactly the purpose of branding.

        3. You are also feigning ignorance when it comes to standards. People make standards, whether employed by government or independent labs. Governments did not create WWW standards, or USB standards, or HDMI standards. Industry creates new materials, and after they have been around for a while and established new standards, government comes along and freezes them, which locks out further innovation in the same products.

          Here’s a hint. Pick your source of automobile safety. Make sure you pick accidents, injuries, and deaths per vehicle miles traveled, not some absolute numbers. You cannot look at those graphs and point out when government created or changed and safety standards. The curve has been decreasing since a few years after cars started mass production, long before government intervened with after-the-fact standards.

          Pickany other industry with government standards. Pick building codes, plumbing codes, anything you want. Government regulations were not the impetus for increasing safety.

        4. “Branding is more dependent upon advertising than upon quality, and it’s even less dependent upon value.”

          Not so fast. Branding here is not about “mad men”

          Branding here, is the local supermarket selling tainted milk. It behooves Trader Joe’s *not* to sell tainted milk. You’d never here the conversation “hey, let’s run down to Trader Joe’s, they’ve got tainted milk on sale”. Trader Joe does not want to be associated as the brand that sells tainted milk. No government regulation required.

          With regulation however, Trader Joe’s can sell all the tainted milk they want; so long as each carton has that little FDA label on it, they are golden.

          Same thing happens with the EPA. If the garment factory next door is spewing pollutants on my lawn, I can’t complain to the Sheriff about it (well, I could complain, but he would tell me to take a hike) No, is have to contact the EPA.

          The EPA would tell me: “Mr Ore, we just inspected the garment factory last week. They meet and/or exceed current EPA regulations. If you want those regulations changed, it’s gonna take a few million $$ and a lot of phone calls to your congressperson.”

    3. Moderation4ever doesn’t seem to understand the difference between regulation and protecting people’s rights in the justice system.

      If government has any legitimate purpose at all, it is to protect our rights. We have a military to protect our rights from foreign threats. We have police to protect our rights from criminals. We have criminal courts to protect our rights from the police. You know what else we have?

      We have civil courts to protect our rights from doctors and banks, when they violate our rights.

      The lack of regulation doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to take your doctor or your bank to court if they violate your rights or violate the terms of a contract. Rather, regulation often shields doctors and banks from liability for violating our rights–so long as they followed regulations. If you can’t tell the difference between the legitimate purpose of courts (to protect our rights) and the effects of arbitrary regulation (to limit liability for violating our rights), then that’s telling.

      1. Moderation4ever

        If the AMA weren’t regulating the medical industry, do you really think doctors wouldn’t be subject to malpractice claims?

        If the banks weren’t regulating the banking industry, do you really think fraud and breach of contract wouldn’t be subject to lawsuits?

        People are thrown in jail and sued for assault and battery claims every day–and there’s no regulation of the assault and battery industry.

        1. Does qualified immunity count?

          1. As a form of regulation?

        2. But we always hearing about tort reform and the need to cap awards. So you sometime have people saying we don’t need regulation you can sue for damages and then say we want to limit those damages. You can argue for one or the other but not both.

  2. What the government can bring to the regulatory table is the enforcement of contracts, the detection and prosecution of fraud, and requirements for transparency.

    Uber and Lyft fulfill the transparency requirement well. But how about a similar scheme for doctors, lawyers, and financial consultants? These need modern feedback loops since the BBB is almost a rubber stamp. The public is often ignorant whether they really received quality service, so professional input is needed. I don’t have a solution, but certainly some mix of peer review and client input can be configured.

    1. There’s an app for that.

  3. Mayhap some kind soul could explain for me, just one or two things…

    Libertarians believe in following the Wisdom of “Top Men”, right? I have seen the concept mentioned here repeatedly…

    Donald Trump is a clearly much-admired “Top Man” around here, on this here Libertarian site’s commentary, right? A self-proclaimed and obvious “stable genius”, right? Why not have HIM set ALL of the “sensible regulations” needed? Yet he has been making at least SOME anemic attempts to CUT THEM BACK! (Supposed regulatory over-reaches having been cut back on rural ranch and farm ponds and steams comes to mind, for example).

    Well anyway, why NOT have our “stable genius” do it for us? WHY is “stable genius” moving AWAY from bestowing His Wisdom upon us, via sensible regulations, in light of His Obvious Qualifications? If you dare DOUBT his qualifications, I have listed SOME small fraction of them below…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/04/17-issues-that-donald-trump-knows-better-than-anyone-else-according-to-donald-trump/
    Trump:
    “I know more about renewables than any human being on Earth.”
    “I understand social media. I understand the power of Twitter. I understand the power of Facebook maybe better than almost anybody, based on my results, right?”
    “Nobody knows more about debt. I’m like the king. I love debt.”
    “I understand money better than anybody.”
    “I think nobody knows the system better than I do.”
    “I know more about contributions than anybody.”
    “Nobody knows more about trade than me.”
    “Nobody knows jobs like I do! ”
    “Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump.”
    “There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”
    “I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me.”
    “There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.”
    “Because nobody knows the system better than me. I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.”

    Quotes from The Donald in the “Anti Gravity” column in August 2017 “Scientific American” magazine follow:
    “I have great genes and all that stuff, which I’m a believer in”,
    “God helped me by giving me a certain brain”,
    “I have a very, very high aptitude”,
    “Maybe it’s just something you have. You know, you have the winning gene.”
    Google the quotes, they are real…

    1. It may be a libertarian site but that doesn’t mean all the people commenting are libertarian does it?

      1. Well, I have started to entertain this creeping suspicion that the likes of John and JesseAZ (who spill oceans of keyboard-ink defending Trump from those who would “overturn an election”) might possibly NOT be in much of any meaningful sense, individual-freedom-minded, or in favor of “smaller Government Almighty”. But those are just my creeping suspicions…

        1. I have been reading here, and occasionally commenting, for some time. I would say that the number of folks here who support a majority of the philosophies most libertarians think of as “libertarianish” are a distinct minority.

          1. Agreed, sad to say! Worse yet, you can sing and dance and explain and give examples and links and quotes from famous people, and on and on, and the evidence that one ever changes their minds, is slim to none. Yet we carry one… In the perhaps-forlorn hope that SOME sunny day, Government Almighty will follow the advice of Steve Martin, and “get small”!

          2. It seems like most of the libertarian purists on this site are little more than concern trolls dedicated to mindless sophistry and gratuitous contrarianism.

            “Well, technically, I never said that …. so, I have no dog in the race … and, if we are being honest, I haven’t seen any evidence …”

            They never seem to take any firm stance, and the discussion always seems to devolve into something a bit above the level of a grammarians quarrel over who said what and how they said it.

            1. Lots of TDS too.

        2. Defending Trump out of fear of the Democratic socialist alternative is entirely reasonable, and some of Trump’s polices have been and are fantastic from a libertarian standpoint.

          “President Trump suggested he is softening his stance on a proposal to pull sweet and fruity e-cigarettes off the market, saying that prohibition can have dangerous consequences.

          “If you don’t give it to them, it is going to come here illegally,” he said in a White House meeting Friday with vaping industry leaders, public-health advocates and others on a policy to address a surge in underage vaping. Mr. Trump said that Instead of legitimate companies “making something that’s safe, they are going to be selling stuff on a street corner that could be horrible. That’s the one problem I can’t seem to forget.”

          “Now instead of having a flavor that’s at least safe, they are going to be having a flavor that’s poison,” he said.”

          https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-warns-of-dangers-in-banning-vape-flavors-11574455609

          Trump may be the most legitimately libertarian president since before World War II.

      2. There is NOT a Libertarian website [anymore].

        … and we have a shitload of trolls and reason staff socks trying to boost website traffic.

  4. “Not All Regulation Is Bad
    Just the kind imposed by governments”

    Totally false as it equates governments that are coercive monopolies with government in general – which need not be state governments !

    The same error was made to produce the anarchy versus limited government situation.

    Coercive monopoly governments are STATES !
    It is a limited state that some like @Reason support – not simply limited government.

    1. Honest question: how do you define the distinction between government and state?

  5. Hey, Howard you cowardly shit, the honest way to say YOU like and want certain regulation is to come out and say it. This bullshit use of “everybody wants” and “We” need is just a verbal screen to hide the fact you’re unwilling to own your opinions.

    You don’t speak for “everybody”. There is no “we” that you can assume includes you and me.
    Don’t be a nanny.

    1. Why are you so pissed? He’s basically suggesting voluntary forms of regulation, so if you don’t want it you can ignore it.

      1. Agreed! WHY should we get upset about “whose opinion is this” when the here-written FACTS are actually FACTS about how politics and economics work together? Objective scientific-historical study (so far as such “squishy” things can actually be studied “scientifically-rationally”, which is to SOME fairly large degree, but obviously neither perfect, nor as objective as, say, math or physics)… Then here are some FACTS from close to the end of the above article:

        “With government, regulators are vulnerable to “regulatory capture,” in which an industry cozies up to the regulating agency and extracts favorable rules; with markets, there is no central authority to capture. Government regulation works by the restriction of choice. Market regulation works by the exercise of choice.”

      2. From what I can tell, “self-regulation” — that is, setting specifications for goods and services, predates government regulation.

        Organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (founded 1894), the AMA (founded 1847), and Certified Public Accountants were industry-certifying individuals and products long before government got involved. Most unions did likewise, be it plumbers or electricians. This is not to say that ALL government regulation is bad, but from what I have seen, it seems to start with industries setting their own standards, anyway.

        1. +1000

        2. Sure, not ALL government regulation is bad, but government comes as a package deal. As the article points out with regards to voting, if Candidate A offers you a ham sandwich, a dollar, and a punch in the face and Candidate B is offering you a bowl of soup, a chocolate bar and a kick in the crotch, which one are you going to choose? Can you refuse both offers if you think both the punch in the face and the kick in the crotch are a higher price than you’re willing to pay for the benefits? Sure, some government regulation might be good, but you ain’t getting some, you’re getting it all.

          Which is why I find the “but what about the roads?” arguments unpersuasive – you have to examine the cost of the roads. “If it saves just one life…” is utter economic bullshit.

          1. “Sure, some government regulation might be good, but you ain’t getting some, you’re getting it all.”

            Yep. And, the bigger the government, the more you get.

    2. Lay off the Donnie Darko. Seriously.

  6. Yes, this might work for for people with a modicum of intelligence who consistently make at least a small effort to understand things before they act.

    But what about the other 99% of humanity? What about people who seem to be dumb and lazy? What about people who choose to be dumb and lazy and want others to take charge? What about people who see others as dumb and lazy and want to protect them? And what about people who just want to be in charge of other people?

    1. What about the people who are busy working, then come home to take care of the family. What about the person who is good in their field but has no idea about other fields. Is it fair to suggest these people are dumb or lazy?

      1. If they deliberately relinquish autonomy to others, for whatever reasons, then, yes, they qualify as lazy (and perhaps dumb). And if they then demand a proscriptive nanny state, which in turn unreasonably constrains those who are independent thinkers, then they are evil.

        One option I would consider: every year each person of majority age can declare themselves a capable adult or a dependent “child”. Those who reject autonomy then lose all legal authority, including voting rights.

        1. It is perfectly reasonable if they want to relinquish autonomy to others. And it does not make them evil.

          It is unreasonable and evil if they require me to relinquish my autonomy to others.

    2. Yes! Exactly!

      Why should lazy people look out for their own best interests when government will do the job for free? My time is valuable, I don’t want to have to spend it researching products and certifying agencies and rating services when I can just rely on government to do this job for me much better and more efficiently. This is why I know now to buy fluorescent lights and low-flow toilets and electric cars with GPS navigation – I don’t have to trust myself to see with my own eyes, take a shit by myself, or find my way home from the grocery store. Government makes all these decisions for me, which frees me up to make more important decisions like who should win on Dancing With The Stars or America’s Got Talent.

      1. Government does NOT do a good job in this role.

        UL has had a great free market job of rating safety features on products for decades.

        Social media ratings for companies doing work means more to me than some government rating. I can see what other customers say about the company, so I can make a free market decision to hire or not.

        1. I think you missed the /sarc

          1. Yeah, good point.

            Although, you never know with jerryskids.

            I thought this was “overreaction weekend”.

            1. Isn’t that EVERY weekend these days?

    3. Great article and Excellent comment….

      Life is tough. But it’s tougher when you’re, “dumb and lazy” — UNLESS of course you can get other to pay you (i.e. subsidize) for the consequences of being “dumb and lazy”.

      I get dumb and lazy all the time and try to buy UN-believably cheap items only to find out it’s a fraud. Luckily though; the very WELL free-market regulation standards of eBay, PayPal and AliExpress almost ALWAYS gets me my money back.

      You see; I use eBay, PayPal, AliExpress even though other places might be even cheaper BECAUSE they add that level of quality and assurance I as-a-customer demands.

      AND GUESS WHAT — I don’t even bother calling the police (government) to “regulate” the fraud because it seems NOTHING EVER gets done.

      1. Good points all of them!

        I have bought used goods (and merely “returned” good that have been re-packaged) from Amazon, and have had crappy experiences. So now I always buy NEW.

        But Amazon has NEVER charged me a DIME to send crappy-crap back! (Third-part stuff “through” Amazon at an arm’s length gets to be different).

        But yes, I have never even DREAMED of getting Government Almighty involved… It is highly likely that it would end up with someone’s dog getting shot, or worse! And I don’t want that on my conscience. So Government Almighty, just please fuck off, to the maximum extent possible!

  7. Wow. This was the sort of article one saw in Reason 4or 5 years ago. Don’t know how it slipped by the minders, but more of this, please.

    1. Yeah, look how few clicks and comments.

      You won’t be seeing too many more like this under Chairwoman KMW.

      1. I may not agree with the article and I would like to see more. I don’t read Reason to get a confirmation of my beliefs, I read it to offer me prospective in deciding what I believe.

      2. Weekend articles rarely get the traffic that weekday ones do.

        1. The reason staff socks and Lefty propaganda orgs take the weekend off, so less web traffic.

    2. Probably rarer now because the Trump articles get way more engagement (even if it’s negative comments).

  8. RBG feeling ill again.

    https://apnews.com/59ece692dd804865bac9df546549ab70

    Won’t someone please throw a bucket of water on her already?

    1. If Trump nominated Jesus Christ Almighty, at this point in the election cycle, the Democrats would make him out to be a serial rapist and a racist. Trump might have trouble finding someone who wants to go through the meat grinder like that–especially when the Democrats and the people who support them seem to be perfectly happy to believe unsubstantiated accusations.

      Also, I’m not sure that her not being available for some of these decisions is a good thing–if, for instance, you want the Court to uphold Trump’s recision of DACA. You want those winning decisions to have all the losing justices available. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if this is a bid to have a delay on some of these decisions until after the next election.

      The best case scenario may be that she hangs on until after Trump is reelected.

      The next best case is that she dies, we go through Kavanaugh 2.0, and then Trump is reelected.

      The second worst case may be that we do Kavanaugh 2.0 and Trump loses.

      And the worst is that they somehow manage to delay confirming a new justice until after the election, and Trump loses.

  9. The essential problem with government regulation is that it interferes with people’s ability to represent their own qualitative preferences–and inflicts the qualitative preferences of government or favored groups on others.

    Who are you to impose your qualitative preference for safety on me–when I buy a motorcycle?

    Notice, we’re not talking about defending my rights. If a motorcycle manufacturer sells me something with a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw that means I’m subjected to harm beyond the scope of my qualitative preference for safety because of what amounts to negligence or fraud, the courts are still available to me.

    Often, the real intent of regulation isn’t to protect consumers at all. It’s to shield manufacturers or providers from liability just for having checked all the boxes according to the regulations. We’re terribly sad that people were hurt, and, sure, common sense says consumers would certainly be harmed by our product–but the fact is that regulators said our product was okay!

    It’s like the “legal advice” defense in a criminal case. I was relying on the advice of my lawyer when he said that what I wanted to do was okay, which speaks to mens rea. You can’t have legal advice and not have defendants claim they were relying on bad legal advice, and you can’t have regulation and not have companies claim that they should be absolved from liability because regulation says products that violated their customers’ rights were perfectly okay.

  10. Luckily, Libertarians are willing to accept tiny and limited government and its power to regulate as a necessary evil. This slight burden allows for protection of property rights, protection of civil rights, large commons projects, and common defense.

  11. Weekend Roundup:
    Greenland Is Not For Sale. But It Has The Rare Earth Minerals America Wants

    Imagine if Greenland residents didn’t get welfare from Denmark. They might actually get to become billionaires from selling rare earth elements to the USA.

    When war with China comes someday and Denmark surrenders to the Socialists again, at least we know where to get the rare earth metals that we cant get from China.

    1. Koalas ‘Functionally Extinct’ After Australia Bushfires Destroy 80% Of Their Habitat

      Sometimes fire is humans best friend. By clearing under brush with small fires, maybe this would have prevented a massive brush fire that got too hot for Eucalyptus trees to survive the blaze.

      1. What the hell are you talking about? It’s a known fact that Australia never had fires before George Bush unleashed global warming on the planet as a distraction from anybody noticing he stole the election from Al Gore. Everybody knows eucalyptus oil doesn’t get hot enough to melt koalas.

        1. Plot to get rid of competition to Cannabis oil?

      2. Darwin rides again

    2. Nunes likely to face ethics probe over Vienna allegation, Armed Services chairman says

      If Democrats cannot convince the remaining Republican voters in Commifornia to get rid of Nunes, then they will. The fact that this Portuguese-American is supported by farmers in California drives the Lefties crazy.

    3. Michael Bloomberg Joins 2020 Democratic Field for President

      Another old White Socialist joining the circus that is the Democrat Party losers to Trump.

      Maybe Bloomberg can join the LP to give him Democrat, GOP, and Libertarian Party street cred.

      1. Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary

        Other Democrat candidates will not be following suit.

        Besides, Bloomberg has already been bought and paid for.

        I wonder if the MSM will cover Trump’s giving away his paycheck, donating his salary to the National Park Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the Surgeon General’s office and the Department of Agriculture?

    4. Hong Kong Voters Turn Out For Biggest Election In City’s History

      I wonder how many people wrote in “Pooh”.

    5. Hunter Biden-linked company received $130M in special federal loans while Joe Biden was vice president

      Uh-oh Lefties. The plot thickens and your deflection with impeachment is not working.

    6. In Virginia, and elsewhere, gun supporters prepare to defy new laws

      Poor Lefties. They spend all that time dressing in Black face and sexually harassing co-workers and get elected to Virginia’s Executive positions, just to have the state citizens defy their unconstitutional gun control laws?

    7. Harvard-Yale game ends in near-darkness after climate change protest

      All that extra energy needed to light the field during the second half.

      This is a measurement of success for Climate Change Accepters!

    8. Yes, it’s such a good idea to cultivate a massive industrial dependence on our greatest global adversary.

  12. Just wondering if a critical parameter is collateral damage, and how much we each are willing to accept.

    Yes, free markets and independent third parties can provide oversight and guidance (which I prefer). But does this approach tend towards more death and destruction? Even if self regulation leads to 99.9% effectiveness, then the 0.01% failure rate can still lead to big numbers of incidents, before people take notice. How much self-regulation focuses on prevention?

    And as Jonathan Haidt has pointed out, one fundamental moral foundation is prevention of harm (and most left-leaning people tend to emphasize this foundation above others). I suspect many people willingly give up freedom for what they perceive as security and safety.

    1. So are you trying to say government regulation is 100.00% safe?

      Maybe you should read the labels on the back of the sun visor in your car telling you the federally mandated air bags will kill your kid, but they are still federally mandated, and you still pay for them no matter what harm they may cause.

      1. And when you add the lack of accountability, for example, FDA guidelines, it’s even worse. If a private nutritionist were to offer bunk advice for 3 decades, then it came out that the advice was bunk, you’d have an opportunity for legal action. The FDA is for all intents and purposes immune to their mistakes. That’s a recipe for disaster.

      2. No, of course not.

        I am just pondering where most people fall on the scale of harm prevention and risk (even if only perceived) vs. liberty. I also suspect that for every American that mistrusts, or just does not want to trust, government agencies, there is another American who feels the same way about business, especially “corporations”. Personally, I would recommend against blind faith in either.

        1. “harm prevention” — Ouch; the stove was hot! I guess I won’t do that again.

          If someone talked me into seeing if the stove was hot – I guess I won’t be listening to them again. If they convinced me through faulty information and lies – there may or may not be a case to be made.

          If someone else !!-forced-!! my hand onto the stove and it hurt bad enough not to ignore – its time to go to (GOV) the justice system where hopefully my inalienable individual right (GOV JOB) to mechanical movement is held in higher regard than the !!-forcer-!!

          Problem is the !!-forcer-!! forcing hands on the stove is often GOV doing things that isn’t its responsibility but truly lies in individual rights and responsibility — the very thing they are there to protect.

          If a case of intentional harm is made – the evil person should be punished or contained to prevent them from continuing their evil upon society (violating other peoples rights).

          The End.

          1. Just imagine “harm protection” that might have been imposed in 1903 reading, “U.S.C. $34.3 OSHA; no man is allowed to be off the ground on anything but a folding-ladder, with a hard hat, and stationary holding harnesses with 5-people waiting to catch them.”

            The Wright brothers, “Heck, we’re certainly going to be criminals for building and testing this airplane idea… Its crazily dangerous and life threatening. Probably just not worth it at all.”

  13. one fundamental moral foundation is prevention of harm

    And there’s where you run into the problem of the seen and the unseen. The FDA does a pretty good job of making sure potentially harmful drugs don’t make it to market – at the cost of making sure potentially beneficial drugs don’t make it to market either. As somebody has suggested before, if electricity were invented today there’s no way in hell it would be allowed to develop as it exists. You want to build big huge polluting power plants, run wires all over the landscape, and then allow this dangerous high-voltage stuff into people’s houses? You’re out of your mind.

    1. I’m not sure this is an argument against regulation. Or at least not a strong one. Prior to coal-burning power plants you could literally eat as much fish as you desired and not get sick. Now mercury poisoning is a serious issue, and there’s no way to really fix it. It will have to solve itself over a couple of centuries.

      And will the companies that did this have to pay for the damage? No, no they will not.

      Or in my hometown, where lead mining and smelting was a big deal, prior to regulations being implemented. The land is poisoned. The rivers are considered too polluted to swim in or eat from. Big bad government not letting us do that! How dare they?!

      How about making the people who did this pay for fixing it? No, that’s being done by the EPA…

      1. “Now mercury poisoning is a serious issue,”

        Nope.

        1. Is that the mercury in thermometers (bad), or the mercury in CFLs (good)?

          1. It’s the mercury in utopia land.. The place we don’t really know anything about except what mainstream media tells us about it.

            1. Low (LOW! with emphasis on the low) doses of mercury in your diet (body, environment) is highly likely to be GOOD for you… ESPECIALLY if you are a duck!

              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21604054
              Hormesis associated with a low dose of methylmercury injected into mallard eggs.

              “Hormesis” (benefits of low doses of poisons) is a very real thing, and getting one’s panties in a wad about way-way low levels of ANY poison, as the EPA is wont to do, is a WAY negative thing!

              1. True facts! SQRLSY earned the tootsie roll! Low doses of alcohol reduce the death rate much like ionizing radiation. In fact, nobody knows whether humans could survive the absence of ionizing radiation. That’s never been felt and can’t be made in a laboratory.

    2. Some of us recognize that everything has associated risks. And that most change, including advancement, entails risk. We can then try to weigh risk vs. reward.

      What is demented is a desire for gain, and even for life, without risk.

      What is also demented is wanting modern life without having to understand how things work, at least in basic ways. Or at least the delusion that people who do not understand technology, including leaders, can make intelligent judgements.

    3. I think it’s the rules ultimately conform to the realities of the marketplace–hence the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      Think of another example–like digital music. The music industry did everything it could from a regulatory standpoint to shut down the digital distribution of music, with shutting Napster down being an excellent example. Then they wanted to put so many restrictions on digital music, you could hardly play it on anything but an Apple product. The market wouldn’t tolerate that regulation, so the ultimate solution? The music industry mostly learned to stop making money from music recordings. They rely more on ticket sales to live performances, product tie ins, merchandising, etc.

      In other words, if the market demands something, it doesn’t matter what the regulation says. That thing is going to happen. The only question is how painful the regulation makes it to do whatever it was the market wants to do–despite that regulation.

      Another example of the same thing is the cannabis industry. The government used regulation to make it dangerous, expensive, and difficult for people to grow, distribute, and consumer cannabis, but they never stopped the bulk of the people who wanted to from engaging in all those activities anyway. If the market doesn’t do what it wants in spite of regulation, then it’s probably something people don’t care too much about. I suspect straw bans may be in that latter category.

  14. Even regulation by government can be ok. The US model of regulators being cops who have contempt for the people they regulate is the biggest problem.

    European countries (sometimes) don’t have the same issue where every regulator is either the enemy of progress or captured by the businesses and used to freeze out competition.

    The Trump Administration’s activities to move agency personnel out of Washington to areas close to the people they serve might be helpful.

  15. In other Fake News, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, recently in the news for arguing with his Commander in Chief but this morning on the news shows stating that this “insubordination” rap was Fake News, has been fired by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The Fake News aspect of this is that, while the Pentagon has released a statement saying the Secretary of Defense has fired him, we all know he was fired by President Trump, which Trump will no doubt be confirming momentarily on Twitter.

    1. Look at the org chart. That box all alone at the top? That’s Trump; he was elected to be there. The Secretary of the Navy is a nominated and senate confirmed official, under the Secretary of Defense, also a nominated and senate confirmed official. If the President doesn’t want him, out he goes.
      (fun fact. Wikipedia is already updated to reflect the firing and the vacancy of the position)

    2. If only reason would do an article explaining why top bureaucrats spending their career in their position is absolutely better than spending 1-2 years in their position.

      reason has added passive-aggressive comments about this issue into multiple articles and most staff appear to fall on the Orange Man firing bureaucrat bad side.

  16. Counterpoint: Light bulbs.

    For 100+ years we were stuck with incandescent light bulbs. Then the government banned them, essentially.

    Instead of the lighting industry being able to sell the same product, they actually had to innovate and do research to produce energy efficient bulbs.

    Yes, for about 5 years we had crappy CFLs. But now we have LED bulbs that last decades and are dirt cheap (just bought 4 for 97 cents).

    1. Counterpoint??? Home-depot Incandescent Light Bulbs 452-Results!!! In all the STUPIDEST deceitful things I’ve ever read.

      The “government” didn’t ban SH#T!!! Incandescent bulbs are still purchasable today! Heck they didn’t even talk about it until last year out of some sort of bored Control-Freak gathering.

      100+ years ago there was no such thing as the Super-Bright LED and if there was the cost to manufacture it with the current tooling was probably well beyond justification.

      What are you going to tell me next that Bernie and the Democrats developed the Super-Bright LED technology in their back yards and Rand Paul and the GOP banned the technology from the market??? No — I’m thinking Democrats are the party of the “banning”.

  17. Good article overall. However, I whole heartedly disagree that fear of lawsuits is effective, necessary, overall beneficial or inline with a free market.
    First, a huge portion of lawsuits are just an extension of buyer’s remorse. The customer who got hurt or sick chose by their own free will to try and buy the product. Some of the blame lies on them for actively deciding to go with a brand they didn’t research, has a bad reputation or deciding to risk being an early adopter.
    A product or service with a very bad safety record will quickly have it’s reputation shot and the company who sells it will go out of business, thus lawsuits are not necessary at all.
    It’s also insanely subjective, since nothing is 100% safe in life so the line is very fuzzy between bad luck, misuse of the product and negligent design or manufacturing of the product by the hand of the producer.
    Also, in the US where there is no loser pay laws, if a producer gets taken to court and are found not guilty, a ton of their time and money has been wasted defending themsleves and their product/service. It’s effectively having to pay for the privilege of being kidnapped and held in a court of law.
    The only thing lawsuits really do is make products more expensive by pricing in the inevitability of a lawsuit, slapping pointless warning labels on everything that nobody reads to cover one’s ass while supporting an industry of bar certified moochers that produce absolutely nothing.

    1. Enlightening and Absolutely correct in today’s tonnage of laws. Assuming the courts will “re-write” all piss-poor law that exist most likely isn’t the cure. Perhaps…. I just can’t help myself —

      M.A.G.A. by DE-REGULATING is.

  18. So to be clear, Baetjer is fine with review companies like Yelp! extorting businesses for “good reviews”? After all, if they were really so bad, then surely people would stop using it, right? So since it’s used, it can’t be that bad.

    Y’know. Unlike every other poison that humans willfully consume despite their known bad consequences.

    That said, all of this rests on rational self-interest. Which, as we all know, is absolute shit at preventing indirect or aggregate harms. So as long as “rational self-interest” doesn’t align with “rational group-interest”, this kind of “self-regulating” regulations are going to miss things, often big things, because the individual boons will outweigh the aggregate harms.

    1. Now what kind of BS propaganda taught you that individual-interest and group-interest were mutually exclusive..

      And that Self-Ignorance is an excuse to be enslaving others to your own self-interest just because you want to pretend they’re mutually exclusive because you sold you soul downstream to the [WE] foundation.

      Holy cow!!! Who could’ve imagined — A group of self-interested individuals could be called a group-interest….. WTF??? you ask? How can that be??

      Many individuals in their OWN self-interest decided NOT to have premarital sex in order to protect themselves from catching STD’s of which became known because of “self-interested” “free press” wanting share news with people who wanted to learn.

      “BUT… BUT… What about all those IGNORANT people who didn’t learn or (really is – didn’t learn what I “self-interestingly” wanted them to learn)… Those people don’t DESERVE to “own” themselves; force them to sell their souls to the [WE] foundation so we can own them!!!”, you spew.

      1. Now what kind of BS propaganda taught you that individual-interest and group-interest were mutually exclusive..

        Mutually exclusive? Nah.

        Often un-aligned? That’d be History 101 and Philosophy/Ethics 101.

        That said, you shouldn’t confuse with me pointing out a problem with me advocating a solution.

  19. “ But what do we do about it?”

    Ask your fellow citizens:

    Name 5 actions you’ve performed in the last 5 months that did not involve regulation, ordinance, law or statute.

    They will not be able to name 1.

    But even I’m not saying that “all regulation is bad”. What I am asking; is why must every action must be regulated and is this really freedom?

    1. All I’ve got is sleep.

  20. You have to work and use the computer and internet, and if you can do that and dedicate some time each day then you can do this with no problem.
    I have been working with this for a month and have made over $2,000 already. let me know if you need more help.

    ReaD MorE

  21. Government regulation is a problem. Through restrictions and mandates, it prohibits exchanges that peaceful people would like to make and requires transactions they do not wish to enter into. Thus it interferes with our liberty to interact as we choose.

    Lack of reasonable government regulation is a huge problem. Through a lack of restrictions and mandates, power flows from the people to wealthy and powerful private entities, leaving peaceful people mostly defenseless and often requiring them to enter into corrupt and lopsided transactions (rip-offs) they do not wish to enter into. Insufficient regulation thus interferes with individual liberty to interact as we choose. Human history has of examples of tyranny, oligarchy and corruption filling the vacuum when government retreats. Evidence that power flows to the masses is almost non-existent. Only government can oppose wealth, assuming it is not been corrupted by the wealth. Wealth = power and power fights bitterly for every old and new scrap of power. When government goes away, the people lose and the rich win.

  22. It is so ironically sad that James Watt chose to call his automatic steam engine regulator a “governor.” He nevertheless brought power to the people, just as Samuel Colt made them equal.

  23. I wish the author had mention cases where other countries used private regulation where the US used government regulation.
    I know that Kong Kong banks issue Hong Kong paper currency. Wikipedia confirms it is currently true for three banks. When I was in Kong Kong it was surprising to get two different looking 1$HK bills. The Honk Kong government still sets the exchange rate.
    And I have heard that in Japan antibiotics do not need a doctors prescription and are sold over the counter.
    At least one and one half countries don’t have an armed force (Lichtenstein and The Holy See) (Both depend on Swiss army).
    And sometimes laws, like anti-monopoly and collusion laws require working through government offices to control quality of service and prevent ‘unfair’ competition.

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