I really like Bob Frankston’s essay about The Regulatorium and the Moral Imperative which links to stuff that the first pages of Technologies of Freedom (which I am currently reading) touch on. But when I read the following, I couldn’t help linking it to both the Regulatorium and Pournelle’s Law:
“In a series of valuable reports, [Ralph Nader] and his associates have confirmed dramatically what earlier studies had demonstrated less dramatically – that governmental agencies established to regulate an industry in order to protect consumers typically end up as instruments of the industry they are supposed to regulate, enabling the industry to protect monopoly positions and to exploit the consumer more effectively.”*
Or as a good friend once pointed out: It is hard for them to press hard their (most likely) future employers.
[ This has remained as a draft for over two years in my backlog. By googling “nader syndrome” someone today might find totally different uses of the term, varying from “having the best intentions but ending up harming” to “wanting to vote for the third candidate, but by doing so favoring the worst of the two others”. I should have named this “The Regulatorium and barking cats” instead. ]
[*] – I found the whole of Friedman’s “barking cats” article here.