Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bureaucracy and unintended consequences

It starts with the best of intentions down a road it is paving. [Link]
I’m saying we should be aware of the trade off.  It is not “regulate food, nothing bad happens” “don’t regulate food, you get horrible things”  it’s more “regulate food and create a massive bureaucracy that might or might not cut down on the really bad incidences of tainted food, but which will do things like break into a picnic and destroy all the food because it was grown in a co-op and not inspected.”  Or “Regulate food and prevent people from bringing food to homeless shelters because it might not conform.”  Or “regulate food and prevent people consuming raw milk if they so choose, knowing the hazards of it.”  OR “regulate food and prevent someone selling their prize cookies, which they cook in a spotless kitchen, but not one that conforms to regulations”  (BTW, a friend who did micro-brewing called his beer Cat Hair Beer, one cat hair guaranteed per bottle.  We all wanted it.)
And this is with food regulations which have a (sort of) objective point and verification to them.  I.e. food is either tainted, or it isn’t.  It either contains x of fat and calories or it doesn’t.  It either…  You know what I mean.
When you start getting into the airy fairy realm of regulations that are supposed to do things like “give the little guy a chance to compete” you’re inviting the small god of unintended consequences (he looks like an ugly doll and laughs when you touch him) into your house and giving him the best seat.
For instance, under the assumption that anyone who doesn’t work for the government is in fact a crook and looking to cheat someone else, there are minimum wage regulations.  Yes, yes, look at that.  The small god is giggling.
What minimum wage regulations do is not make sure that everyone makes what is “fair” – whatever that is.  I never understood “fair” past distributing cookies in Kindergarten – it is rather to price labor away from many small employers.
The healthcare law adds a hellish level to this, so even medium size companies will have trouble complying with either the costs or the mind boggling level of paperwork to document compliance.
This is why big corporations donate to the candidates favoring more regulations.  And then people ask for more regulations to protect them from the corporations.  And then…  You see where this is headed?
The final stage of this system is a place where only massive entities and bureaucrats have nay power, and the rest of us are serfs.  The sheer amount of paperwork, regulations and hoops to jump through to prevent the evil, evil individuals from doing the nasty stuff they’d do without government supervision, means no one can strike out on their own.
And every time anyone protests, you get told “Do you want meat with maggots?”
(The funny thing is that once the system is ossified and there is no alternative to the big guys, you’ll have meat with maggots and like it.  Ask China and the insecticide in infant formula or the slippers that will burn your skin.)

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