The Paradox of Regulation

The Paradox of Regulation

What Regulation Can Achieve and What it Cannot

Fiona Haines

This up-to-date book takes a fresh look at regulation and risk and argues that the allure of regulation lies in its capacity to reduce risk whilst preserving the benefits of trade, travel and commerce.

Chapter 3: Risk and the Task of Regulation

Fiona Haines

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy


Bournemouth Borough Council has barred its pools from lending arm-bands and rubber rings to children. They might get an infection blowing them up, it seems, and the Council might be liable if they punctured. Better that the children drown uninfected but with the Council in the clear. Better that they risk swimming with no armbands (their own fault) than that the Council risks blame from the (much lower) risk that the supplied arm-bands might leak … The Oxford Agenda1 More than 200 schools have been closed in south-eastern Australia as the government warned of an intensified fire risk ahead of the weekend. A lack of rain and a predicted change in wind has made conditions the most dangerous in recent weeks. BBC News Channel2 Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that President Obama had made the country less safe, asserting that the new administration’s changes to detention and interrogation programs for terrorism suspects would hamper intelligence gathering. Mr. Cheney said the moves suggested that terrorism was now being treated as a law enforcement problem. “He is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” Mr. Cheney said of Mr. Obama in an interview on the CNN program ‘State of the Union.’ New York Times3 The central argument of this chapter is that close attention to the breadth and complexity of risk provides a fruitful complement to the previous chapter’s emphasis on the enduring presence of instrumentalism and politics...

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