Chapter 2: The Regulatory Paradox
2. The regulatory paradox ‘Like a smouldering fire the Liberals let the deregulation agenda in this country lie dormant for most of their eleven years in office. I intend to re-ignite it.’ Lindsay Tanner (Australian Labour Party), Minister for Finance and Deregulation1 ‘… Not once have we heard any of them (The Liberal/National opposition) discuss exactly why the world economy has been plunged into crisis over the past two years. Not once have they mentioned the disastrous policies of the Bush administration and the Republican congress in the United States over the past decade. These included the massive and irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest section of the population, the reckless deregulation of the financial system …’ Senator David Feeney (Australian Labour Party (Victoria))2 ‘We therefore need a frank analysis of the central role of neo-liberalism in the underlying causes of the current economic crisis. We also need a robust analysis of the social-democratic approach to properly regulated markets and the proper role of the state.’ Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister (Australian Labour Party)3 Well-designed and properly implemented regulation can bring about good results. Yet a critical assessment of when and how regulation can bring about beneficial ends and when it fails to do so is challenging. This is because the appropriate level of regulation considered necessary, when it is required and how it should be enforced, is vigorously contested. Political debates rage around the need to protect and control, and almost simultaneously a competing demand for a loosening...
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