Skip to main content

Too Much Regulation Hurts A Free Market

Keeping a free market going is a bit of a balancing act.  On the one hand, if it is entirely unregulated, monopolies start to form.  These monopolies will then prevent other businesses from competing by either buying them out or underselling them or something similar.  This in turn stifles innovation and takes choice away from the consumer.  On the other hand, if you have too much regulation it stifles a business.  When a company can no longer choose how it acts and is forced to spend a large portion of it's income on compliance with regulations innovation suffers and barriers to entry are created.  You can't just start an insurance company, there are certain rules and regulations you have to follow.  The same with any other business.

It is government's job to make sure that business stays competitive by creating appropriate regulations.  However, if government goes too far, it runs the risk of having the solution be worse than the problem.

The other thing about regulation is that it doesn't always do what was intended.  For example, when the government first gave businesses tax breaks to insure their employees, it was to encourage them to offer insurance.  It was supposed to give people more access to insurance.  Today it is almost the only way a person can afford insurance.  It takes away our choices because we only get to pick what our employer offers.  It stifles competition because insurance companies aren't catering to people any more, they cater to HR departments which usually choose the cheapest plans not the ones that are best suited to all of their employees.

So how do we fix bad regulation?  Well, one of the problems is that once it goes on the books, nobody ever goes back and checks to see if it is working like it should.  Therefore, I believe that all regulation should have an expiration date.  If a regulation is passed, it will automatically expire in two years.  At that point it can be extended but not for more than five years.  This forces the legislature to review regulations regularly.  They can ask if they are doing what they were intended to do and if they are a help or a burden to businesses and the consumer.

As for existing regulations, expire them at the rate of five or ten a year, starting with the oldest.  Basically, enough that meaningful change can happen but not enough that the legislature is overwhelmed with a hundred years of regulation.

Not all regulation is bad but there is a risk whenever government dictates how the market is to operate.  Lets mitigate that risk by insuring that all regulations are periodically reviewed and by allowing unnecessary and counterproductive regulations to expire.  This helps business which lowers cost for consumers.  It's a win win proposition.


Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…