Water Burning: productivity, victims, and why it is never “My fault”

Posted on August 11, 2011

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In these times of economic trouble, with budgets being cut and high unemployment, a common theme being passed around by all politicians in rich countries is ‘we need to cut red tape’. If only companies did not have to spend so much money on ‘red tape’ they could spend it on creating jobs, increase productivity, spend more on research and development to invent new products that could get us out of this mess, blah blah blah insert your own fairy tale of good things companies would do if only they had the moneyūüė• .

“If only we did not have the Environmental Protection Agency (or equivalent in other countries) or historical preservation laws then we would not have red tape. It is this over regulation that is killing (American, British, insert your own country) jobs.” -faceless company executive or politician

Nice story, now lets move out of the kids fiction section to the adult non-fiction section so we can stop telling fairy tales that let us sleep at night and get into reality, that will in most cases keep us up at night. The problem with fairy tales is that in them the companies/entrepreneur/person  are always the victim and regulations are always bad, there is no grey area and god forbid it actually is the companies/entrepreneur/person  fault for whatever problem they are facing. No, it was not their fault that these laws were placed there in the first place. They are always left wondering why would someone make such laws in the first place that obviously hurt so many human beings?

Let us take a closer look at this fallacy. The EPA in the US was created because a river caught fire. Pause for a second and let that sink in. The very substance that firefighters use to put our fires caught fire and was burning……. water, H2O, was on fire. Fun fact, water does not burn naturally. Which means it was someones fault for this and I have real doubts that it was the rabbits. Call me crazy but I think this one took some effort from humans to make it possible. Dare I say it might be the fault of a company/entrepreneur/person.

The thing that fairy tales forget to mention is that, the so called, red tape laws are not met to screw companies/entrepreneurs/person’s X but to prevent companies/entrepreneurs/person’s X from screwing us. Gasp…………… . Most people, except for a few harden crazies, will accept this fact when it is presented but then it’s back to the fairy tale.

That is only because of a small minority of bad people. Yes, the law is a good idea but it is put into practice in such a way that it doesn’t work. This poorly executed law is hurting us. -faceless company executive or politician

Whose fault is that?

Not ours, like we said it was the work of a small minority of bad people that caused the problems in the first place.-faceless company executive or politician

See the thing is, it really is your fault. Problems don’t exist in a vacuum just like a river doesn’t just one day catch on fire or sub-prime mortgages suddenly turn out to fail. There are warning signs and in business if you interpret the signs correctly then you and your business flourish, if not you fail. This is what happens in life, people make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences. I find it laughable when someone does not read the signs correctly, makes a mistake, and then says it is not their fault and should not be punished.

Lets look at a case were a profession saw the writing on the wall and acted before the government imposed laws, the diamond industry. The press about blood diamonds was getting pretty bad so the industry gets together and creates the Kimberley Process¬† to “fix” the problem of blood diamonds.¬† Did it? Absolutely not but it did prevent anyone from creating “regulations” that could hurt anyone’s productivity.

The thing is, if a government has to create a regulation the problem has probably been around for a long time. If you could not see the signs and then that is your fault and not ours. Let us stop spreading these fairy tales that regulations are bad and only punish people. More importantly let us stop making the perpetrators of evil into the victims.

Posted in: Wildcard