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Old 10-27-2011, 12:39 PM   #107 (permalink)
CheeseForSteeze
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Again, no one is suggesting no regulation or standardization but that implementation of regulation be overseen and audited by someone other than governmental agencies which have no accountability.

I would strongly argue that capitalism does not foster an environment for regulatory and business to collude in the interest of creating an artificial monopoly. If we understand capitalism in a fundamental sense, such an idea is antithetical to capitalism becaus the very nature of such collusion is antithetical to the idea of a free market. A free market is one in which market forces are allowed to prevent artificial monopolies from forming due to the nature of competition. Such an environement should be relatively free of regulatory facets for different competitors to exploit and eventually lobby to have implemented to their own advantage.

I'll use my own company as an example, one I disagree with in this regard wholeheartedly. The corp that employs me has most of its core business assets tied up in nuclear power, natural gas power and emerging green technologies. Most of these technologies are for baseline generation facilities rather than peaking or offloading facilities. The CEO has strongly lobbied for cap and trade regulation because it would make coal and gas turbine facilities, especially peaking stations which are less effecient but critical to maintaing grid load stability, much less competitive and give us a huge advantage. This increases overall consumer costs, in the end, because the cheapest option for power production is made more expensive to the point we become cheaper. The consumer, in this case, are futures energies buyers and then a small percentage of on-demand power requests from load dispatchers. These are the distributors who sell power directly to consumers and when their costs go up (because we're now the "cheapest" option), the costs go up for your average joe. We aren't made more competitive because found a cleaner, safer or more effecient way to make power - we're now artificially more competitive.

As for the notion of under-regulating in at the expense of safety, this is largely the consumer's fault. Consumers need to be informed enough to stress that safety is a design priority for whatever industry they are patronizing but this just isn't the case. The vast majority of consumers are underinformed and ignorant, often willfully so. With this sort of atmosphere, it doesn't matter how much regulatory agencies try to provide oversight, it will result in greater de-emphasis on safety because market forces eventually overhwelm any regulatory forces.

I don't know about that quote, but there is a risk inherent in everything. At some point, yes, we have to accept the risk of imparting certain services and products into society. The marginal costs of increasing safety past a certain point become unfeasible. A plane *will* crash every once in a while no matter how much maintenance programs and aviator training is audited and improved. Should we just get rid of planes altogether? Should commercial flights cost $1000 to fly 300 miles so as to have a budget to squeeze out more precentage points of safety?

Look at the Fukushima earthquake and the problems with the reactors. This is a matter I am intimately familiar with since those reactor vessels (GE BWR Gen III with Mk IV Primary Containment) are the exact same design at the facility I work at. Those plants performed admirably for the given conditions, yet everyone is being lambasted that reactor design isn't "safe" enough. People don't understand there is an inherent risk in producing power and the only way to 100% eliminate risk is to eliminate power production altogether. I would argue that nuclear plants have saved many more lives and increased the quality of life than the opposite even including the Chernobyl and Fukushima events. In addition, the industry continues to improve itself without prompting or regulatory mandate/decree. The general public doesn't understand that, and since these regulatory industry generally appeal to the emotion of the masses as a measure of their efficacy, the result is often needlessly burdensome regulation which increases our costs. That increases our cost to produce power which is passed on to the consumer and hurts their quality of life.
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