I have quite enjoyed a recent conversation with Adam Magoon and Brandon Christensen on the former’s post, Risks Of Regulation. While my comments on the post were distantly spaced in time, the subject often came to mind in the interlude. At the present moment I would like to expand more upon my mental meanderings regarding corporate and government power, and will likely deviate beyond the scope of the original post. While on the subject of the original, I never intended to challenge the notion
“that these regulations were essentially written by the corporations who would be doing the drilling.”
As I plainly stated,
“I would bet dollars to donuts that the regulations cited in this article were developed and supported by corporate interests.”
I admit this was redundant within the conversation, as that point had been clearly made in the post and then repeated previously in (and within) the comments. It is a popular sentiment. I did not mean to imply that bankers should write oil regulations. I did mean to stand in solidarity with Mr. Amburgey’s remarks concerning unicorns and pixie dust. More specifically:
“But they weren’t doing anything they didn’t want to do anyway [see the point just above] they were just externalizing the downside risks. As Adam points out ‘If the site is not economically viable then there is no reason to drill there.’”
It is excellent that we are agreed that the State is a tool used by Capital to externalize its risks* thus creating an opportunity for profits from an otherwise undesirable venture. Mr. Magoon soundly makes an excellent point on this matter. To question the practicality of the proposal to end all regulation is not to misrepresent it, but to continue the conversation.
The State does not corrupt Capital so as to pursue a venture with such potentially catastrophic and damaging consequences. While severing State and Capital would partially disarm and so initially weaken Capital, it has no effect upon a human’s desire of the lower appetite contrary to reason. Lobbyists, bureaucrats, employers and employees are all human.
The post does not persuade me that regulation is not “a protective shield from the ‘dangers’ of the businessman.” If any businessman tells you that government regulations have not dissuaded him from dubious conduct, he is blowing smoke up your @$$. It is the invisible hand of the market that beckons sensuously, while the menacing hand of government threatens to slap at the wrist. It is also true that the hand of the market is a provider and comforter, while thugs wear brass knuckles of government might. The State, Capital and Labor are all states of Society in which Man naturally lives.
This is deteriorating into a metaphor about three-legged stools not wobbling… Of course there’s also the one about molecular bonding! Anyway, I hope you can grok my trip.
There is something to be said for unions. They undoubtedly offer some restraint against abuses. It is quite unfortunate that they were compromised by organized crime so early. Of course, there’s also that pesky concupiscence thing about both the mobstersand union members.
*Have you ever encountered a situation where the State externalized its risks to Capital?