Re: COPY: Re: Stasism/Dynamism
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 11:42:31 EST

In a message dated 12/5/99 11:03:41 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

> I think the problem is one of the "education" of the public.

> The car manufacturers generally resisted making cars "safer"
> until the public became educated enough (around the time that
> air bags became relatively affordable) that they started demanding
> safe cars (before that it was a niche market for companies like
> Volvo). Now they are scrambling to be innovative and outdo each
> other with passenger air bags, side air bags, back seat air bags,
> side door beams, etc. Now, if you are against such things as
> safety regulations, you are voting in favor of hidden costs.
> People get injured, they go to hospitals, that ends up costing
> you in terms of increased health care costs (whether paid for
> by your government or company or self, depending on your situation).
> The work days they lose may cost them personally, but it also
> costs you because it lowers the productivity of the society
> resulting in a lower return on any investments you might have.

The real question is whether the costs imposed by regulation beyond those directly related to the specific safety improvements you can point to are worth the benefit you get from centralized a priori administrative rule-making. The question is whether, on balance, a system of private policing through tort law and insurance is more efficient than one carried on by administrative fiat. Economists can battle over the question with models, but we really don't have enough data to answer this question systematically as an empirical problem. We DO know that a completely centralized, bureaucratic system DOESN'T work very well, based on observation of societies that have tried that path.

      Greg Burch     <>----<>
      Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know 
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another    
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                           -- Desmond Morris