Sunday, December 19, 2010

Regulation by Exception

Tom Still proposes what I'll call 'regulation by exception' for the telecoms in Wisconsin.

...Consumer protection is not enhanced by devoting a disproportionate share of resources to pre-emptive regulations predicated on the notion that all providers are out to hurt their own customers. True consumer protection involves acting quickly and decisively when there are cases of fraud, examples of unwarranted service interruptions, failure to perform and other actual instances in which consumers are harmed.

Rather than spend time and money on policing what regulators think providers might do wrong, let's aggressively pursue actual instances of consumer harm. Over time, the market will protect consumers - as the competitive wireless market has demonstrated.

While we're at it, what about applying that thought-line to more than just telecom regulation? It might save more than a few taxpayer dollars.

Remember that regulation is also protection; it establishes a monopoly, or oligopoly, because other, smaller, firms, cannot always front up the capital required to fund compliance.

This is not to advocate another Asphalt Jungle/Robber Baron era. It IS to advocate 'thinking regulation,' which only requires informed consumers and a sharp-elbowed, smaller, faster-acting regulatory authority.

UPDATE: For a scale-up of the same general idea see Grim's Hall.

The bureaucratic state is too inefficient to provide the needed services at a sustainable cost – and bureaucratic, administrative governments are by nature committed to maintain the status quo at a time when change is needed. For America to move forward, power is going to have to shift from bureaucrats to entrepreneurs, from the state to society and from qualified experts and licensed professionals to the population at large.


1 comment:

Display Name said...

Sharper elbows? Faster-acting? When the Republicans reformed cable TV law three years ago, they removed any semblance of local control from municipalities. They handed bare-bones authority to The Dept. of Financial Institutions. DFI's leaders came to the hearing and said they couldn't understand why they were being given the authority. They had no staff trained in these matters. They were given no funding for it. They weren't even given authority to reject any applications for licensing.