Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A note on Government Regulation

Since it is earth day, it is a good time to note a particular point about how environmental issues are misrepresented in the news. In this Wisconsin Public Radio news program "DNR Butts heads over phosphate controls", we are informed that controls on Phosphates are wrong because they represent intrusive government regulation.

In a free market society, you are allowed to make and sell stuff to me as long as, in the process, we don't screw with other people's stuff.

The purpose of Government, on a truly "Free Market" view, is to stop us if in fact we are screwing up other people's stuff. In the real world, however, we have never lived in a free market society so the government decides, through intrusive government regulation, how much we can mess up other people's stuff.

If a person liked to swim or fish in a lake that is now turning into a fetid, stinking green algae swamp because of phosphates, it was "Intrusive Government Regulation" that allowed it to happen, by choosing to allow users of phosphates to dump them into other people's (in this case, our) property.

If we are the folks who make a profit by turning lakes into fetid, stinking algae swamps, it is also "Intrusive government regulation" that will stop us.

In other words, as long as we don't adopt a strictly Libertarian Free market society (which would prevent all pollution, but at a cost no society will ever choose to bear), then the give or take of "intrusive government regulation" is what all of us are going to live with. It shouldn't be raised as some sort of evil on only one side of the equation.