Thursday, 8 September 2011


Liberalish people are surprised that anti-government rhetoric has so much traction among ordinary working people. Is this proletariat false consciousness or is there a very good reason for it.

What liberals and social democrats do not closely examine is who is most affected by the ever expanding regulatory regimes.

It is not the rich. It is not PhD’s. It is not large corporations and institutions. It is the blue collar folk. It is the people running small businesses - drywallers, roofers, electricians, shopkeepers, coffee shops. People who lack the skills to deal with regulatory system.

For many people life is reaching a regulatory overload. The only way they can deal with it is by dropping out, by operating outside the system. This doesn’t mean they are "free"; they will continue to be sporadically hounded by municipal inspectors, by tax collectors, by health and safety bureaucrats. They will often be treated as quasi-criminals.

So excessive government micro-management is not just a right-wing libertarian issue. It is not about allowing the big companies to do as they wish and become even bigger (and richer). It is about how our legal and regulatory systems impact on various people with particular emphasis on how they impact on the ordinary folk.

It is necessary to have a critical, evidence based analysis of how legal and regulatory systems affect our individual lives. Hopefully this analysis will be free of ideological presumptions in favour of small government or big government or whatever.

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