Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


An organisation I belong to asks me to respond to a questionaire from Brussels that seeks opinions as to whether more regulation is desirable in a certain field. Loyalty means that I shall respond, but excessive regulation really makes me wild. Bureaucrats ought to know that The Law of Diminishing Returns applies in their world just as much as in economics. There is a point at which each extra increment of control brings less benefit than the one before. In fact, it is worse in the world of adninistration. In economics, each step costs more and brings less benefit, but with regulation there is an AGGRAVATION COST as well as a financial one. Will they never learn? Many years ago I had a job title that included the word “Administrative”, and being then a keen young man I worked hard to empty my in-tray. When that was done I started to administer things that needed no administration and sought to impose pointless regulations on my colleagues just to prove how keen I was. Luckily, I woke up to what I was doing and stopped

Total control of behaviour by legislation and regulation is not possible. There will always be some who disregard it or evade it, and of the honest majority who observe it, some will suffer an unreasonable restriction and some will get into trouble through ignorance. There will also be an enforcement cost, and for the enforcers the easiest wa y to score brownie points is to prosecute honest people who transgressed by accident. Serious evil-doers will have arranged to protect themselves. A calculation must always be made – “Is further regulation likely to be a benefit or a curse?” If you are paid to be a regulator, you will be tempted to give the wrong answer.

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