Regulators’ Life Cycle

November 20, 2008


John Kenneth Galbraith wrote in 1954 concerning regulators:

…regulatory bodies, like the people who comprise them, have a marked life cycle.

In youth they are vigorous, aggressive, evangelistic, and even intolerant.

Later they mellow, and in old age – after  a matter of ten or fifteen years – they become, with some exceptions, either an arm of the industry they are regulating [regulatory capture] or senile.

I thought of my friends in Australia when I read this yesterday.

  • I wonder if Galbraith, as a agricultural economist, would view re-invigorating the ACCC as akin to adminstering Viagra to a gelding?

Sure: Lots of pawing the ground and snorting going on. Even some lofty aspirations.

But when the parliamentary inquiries end, will it be Business as Usual or a few more years of pretense management?

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