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Health, risk and politics / The Costs of Regulation and the Cost of the Market

Anno XXXII, n. 139, marzo-aprile 1997
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
In recent years people have become acutely aware of the damage being done to health by synthetic industrial chemicals – as if they were a source of cancer for human beings. It was environmentalists who triggered this fear by having questionable scientific findings propagated by the media. On the basis of the argument that we have the right to live in a risk-free world, they put forward the precautionary principle, which citizens support by activating a demand for government regulation. This produces over-government and, what is even worse, effects – namely, increased risk – that are the exact opposite of its goal. To escape this vicious circle, we have to abandon the idea that a bad regulation should be replaced by a better one, to limit government intervention by placing our trust in the morality of markets and property rights and, lastly, to achieve a sort of flexible federalism based on competitive local governments.