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Landslide Bring Me Down 68/75

Landslide Bring Me Down 68/75 published on 10 Comments on Landslide Bring Me Down 68/75

ETD: Seven days.

Annie: What are you reading, Cress?

Cress: Legal summations. Babe sent me a whole court brief! Best wife ever. No offense.

Juniper Mining has already been dismantled to cover the costs of this rescue — but what about whoever takes their place? We need new public safety regulations, and harsher penalties for companies that —

Arnulf: Regulations? Penalties?!

Government only strangles the profit out of hard-working businesses! In Sønheim we know not to enact too many rules. A company can get along fine without them!

Cress: Um, hello? Have you managed not to notice where we ARE?!

Arnulf: Obviously the result of some employee not following best practices. And I just bet you it wasn’t any of us from Sønheim.

10 Comments

Hey, Erin, you know Libertarians like me aren’t anti-regulation, we’re just anti-letting unelected regulatory agencies from writing reams of regulations, right? We’re just asking for accountability.

“Hey, you know that liberals like me aren’t anti-libertarian, we’re just anti poor-just-aren’t-trying free market fanatics that willfully disregard externalities, right?.”
What I said above is a silly because it undermines saying “not against X” when you immediately follow with a caricature of the worse case version of X. (Also it assumes you represent the views of all of the group you are speaking as a member of.) While there are bad regulations, there are also libertarians who are genuinely out there (as well as liberals who are genuinely unfair to non-liberals).

I’m not pro- or anti-regulation either. But I don’t hold with dismissing a regulation because it comes from an “unelected agency”, with no regard to why it was enacted, who it protects, or what its effects are.

In-universe, if the safety regulations on the mining industry had been more stringent and more strongly-enforced, a lot of people would still be alive, and a lot more would be in much better health. (To say nothing of saving the public all the stress and expense of the lengthy rescue effort.) There are plenty of analogous situations in the real world.

I am pro-regulation that prevents this kind of scenario. It’s the primary way we get accountability in the private sector.

And I have the self-awareness to realize that I’m never going to be an expert in every field. My vote on which individual candidate should lead every possible agency is unlikely to help them do their jobs any better.

Actually, you don’t need government regulations for mining … if the owners of the mining company would know they would face not only fines but also prison time if something like this happens. And actually face, not that they would be able to run to some other country or something … They would create own regulations immediately.

The most deadly combination are insufficient government regulation and owners and executives who get clear because they have been following them. Wait. Actually, the most deadly combination is if they get clear even if not following them.

It’s still a regulation to say “this action will get you a fine of X dollars and a prison term of Y years.” It’s just not a pre-emptive regulation.

The problem is that, if you only have post-emptive regulations and not pre-emptive ones, it gives companies a lot of opportunity to gamble with people’s safety.

If putting seatbelts in your next run of cars costs $1000, but there’s a fine for seatbelt-related deaths…maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe all those cars get sold to responsible drivers in safe areas. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll have to pay a fine, and it is guaranteed that you’ll save $1000 by leaving the seatbelts out.

Many businesses, looking at their bottom lines, will make that gamble. And if they do have to pay the fine, well, it serves them right, but it doesn’t pay back the life of the person who died for lack of seatbelt.

The biggest recent example I can think of in the US is the power plant that exploded in 2010, ultimately killing 6 and injuring another 49. Between all the companies involved in the construction of the plant, a government regulatory agency handed out $16.6 million in fines. (Of course, since then, a lot of them have been reduced or unpaid…) It looks like at least one of them has gone out of business, and, again, it serves them right! But it doesn’t change the fact that six families have permanently lost a loved one.

There’s not a lot of history of businesses succesfully self-regulating at their own expense. I wouldn’t expect that to change.

Technically, it may not be regulation if it’s based on general laws – like murder, manslaughter etc. But I guess it will still be called that by some.

That’s why I said the fine is not enough. I believe the owners would be less likely to gamble (or gamble with better odds, at least) if they faced actual time in prison or possibly even death row. The biggest victory of businesses was to make COMPANY responsible instead of the owners and executives.

Note: the problem with regulation is that it’s not always as obvious as seatbelts. Often, only people with actual experience in the industry know what is risky and dangerous and how it can be prevented … and most of them have own interests so may not be honest when advising about the regulations.

Also, I definitely don’t believe businesses would handle correctly removal of existing regulations. If we already have working regulations, better keep them. This theory would only work for cases where we don’t have them yet or are broken.

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