Socialism’s About Turn

Aadisht points to the latest version of the old bad idea: Nationalising rivers.  This is the time to pimp my old solution to the Kaveri dispute which still has a better chance of working than everything else that is being tried now.

In this post, however, I want to ask supporters of this idea: Why do you think nationalising rivers will work? This is old style socialism of course, which advocates central planning, and it does not work of course.

Continue reading

Response: More on Strict Liability

No, I haven’t given up on responding to the strict liability comments.  Here, I respond to two comments by Ritwik:

There are some tradeoffs involved here. For example, if a ‘bribe the inspector’ system exists, it’s becaue it is economically attractive – that is the amount of the bribe will typically be lower than the amount required to install the fire safety systems. Thus, there is no automatic incentive for a theatre owner to improve the safety requirements if the inspectors are removed.

My dear Ritwik!  What makes you think that fire safety is just a matter of installing safety equipment? What makes you think that any government regulation is designed to be easy to follow? My mother used to work in a small scale company and had to fend off these inspectors, and believe me, complying with the rules is simply not an option. Unless you pay them off, they will always be able to find a violation and harass you, even if the the violation is just using ink of the wrong colour in the quarterly fire drill report.

Continue reading

Response: Strict Liability and Silver Bullets

Ritwik asks:

How is punishment of the guilty ‘prevention’? The owner of some small XYZ theatre may take a risk with safety standards, assuming that due to the low probability of a fire hazard, the chances that a mishap ever happens with his theatre are minimal (even though they are much greater than the chances that a fire may be set off at some other theatre that willingly follows saftey norms). If a mishap now happens, what exactly have we prevented?  [second paragraph redacted as it is already answered.]

Continue reading