Regulation

At a Christmas dinner last Wednesday, I argued that the recent economic cock-ups in the West were prime examples of government regulatory interference causing more harm than good. We should have less regulation, not more, I said. But somehow the politicians are using this mess, which is largely of their own making, as an excuse to slap heavier restrictions and regulations on the markets. This is as ridiculous as their plan to spend their way out of debt by borrowing even more. It surely does not take much intelligence to realise that borrowing more money is a bad way to get out of debt.

But my friend disagreed. He said that he felt it was clear that we need more regulation. He could not offer any evidence or reasoning to back up his claim, he openly admitted that it was only a feeling, but nevertheless he felt it was true and that I was completely wrong. I felt smug in my superiority. I was using logic to reason based on factual evidence, whereas he was just expressing an irrational feeling, no doubt engendered by his left-wing upbringing and his continued habit of reading The Guardian.

However, as I have asked before on this blog, what the hell do I know about economics? It makes sense to me that regulation should in general be a bad thing. Even the most intelligent people in the world fail to predict the movements of markets, so it is utterly absurd to think that a bunch of civil servants will somehow magically comprehend the global economy in its entirety and so plan our way to prosperity. The whole point of letting markets regulate themselves is that they do so without the need for any super-genius to make magical predictions.

But I also hate the modern state. I loathe it with deep, heartfelt passion. So it should not be surprising that I am inclined towards a policy that minimises the power and influence of the state and I am opposed to one that grants even more of our money, our freedom and our independence to that malign beast.

Thus the only thing that I can reasonably conclude from this is that my friend and I are equally unqualified to pontificate about the economy but that I am, perhaps, better at bullshitting than he is.

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Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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