Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Ralph Nader on Regulatory Capture

As I was writing my paper on government-granted privileges, several friends and colleagues directed me to a number of great reads. One of the more interesting was a 1973 piece by consumer advocates Ralph Nader and Mark Green (HT to my colleague Adam Thierer). I had been disposed to think of Mr. Nader as a knee-jerk government interventionist, but the piece really opened my eyes. In it, Nader and Green make a compelling case that a good deal of government regulation benefits entrenched firms at the expensive of consumers. “The verdict is nearly unanimous,” they wrote, “that economic regulation over rates, entry, mergers, and technology has been anticompetitive and wasteful.” The result is a system which “undermines competition and entrenches monopoly at the public’s expense.”

Well said. A gated version of the piece is here. For other progressives on the perils of regulation and regulatory capture, check this out.