A Philosophical Perspective on Regulation
Chapter 4: Commissioned self-regulation
Whereas the preceding chapters focused on the structure of the rules, Chapter 4 analyses how they shape the relations between the actors who outsource (the Principal P) and the actors who are commissioned to make rules (the Agent A). In order to sketch the various functions of the rules, a thought-experiment is carried out in which a regime of spontaneous self-regulation is contrasted with the type of commissioned regulation that is prevalent in outsourced law. In spontaneous self-regulation, rules are developed to coordinate actions, to make social life more agreeable, and to solve conflicts over resources. In commissioned self-regulation, rules are mainly drafted in anticipation of the Principal’s future assessment of the Agent’s efforts and serve to justify what has been achieved. It is argued that in order to assess the merits of rules, attention should be paid to the different functions of rules for the different actors. Outsourcing rule-making does not necessarily lead to more active democratic participation of citizens.
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