Monday, November 26, 2012

Niall Ferguson Decries Government Regulation

In this piece on the Real Clear Politics website, historian Niall Ferguson explains that the western legal system and its attendant bureaucracy is holding back development.  Like this is news.

When labor and management have a beef with one another, there's a number of things that can happen.  The workers can be locked out, like the NHL hockey players.  The workers can go on strike, as has happened countless times all over the place.  These two events are commonplace.  A third option, however, really gets management's attention, labor threatening to "work to rule".  Which means that employees will obey every regulation put in place by management and abide by every clause in the management-labor contract.  Management would rather have everyone walk out of the plant than pay them normal wages for the decreased level of production resulting from following management guidelines.

The relevance of this is that the government, in its many permutations, ALWAYS works to rule, regardless of the negative effects on both its management and its customers, who are the citizens.  In fact, government apparatchiks are always searching for rules that they can use to frustrate and fluster the very people that pay their salaries.  A short visit to the building permit office, a visit from the health inspector, a difference of opinion with law enforcement, literally any interaction with bureaucracy will result in consternation.  The increasing complexity of regulations and the power of the bureaucracy is leading to the inevitable breakdown of the nation-state.

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