Monday, July 22, 2002

RE: Are the Feds Wimps or What? (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 13:54:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Duncan Frissell
To: "Trei, Peter"
Subject: RE: Are the Feds Wimps or What?

On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Trei, Peter wrote:

> Well, the other possible interpretation is that the Feds are not
> black-at-heart, Big Brother, neo Stalinist fascist JBTs
> pouncing on any opportunity to make confetti of the Bill of Rights;
> but rather are actually trying to respond to 9/11 with a minimal
> impact on US Citizens.
> ...but of course, that would be an unpopular interpretation on
> this mailing list.

I agree. I assume that they have enough on their hands without adding
wholesale oppression. Takes time. Very expensive. That's one of the
advantages of an advanced market economy. Salaries and other operating
costs are high and the wealth of your adversaries is also so high that
unless you're making a profit on the transaction it's hard to "buy" too
much of something even if that something is oppression.

If the activity to be regulated doubles in size, the regulators had better
double in number too or they begin to fall behind. SEC? Markets can
adapt to demand changes because the actors are self-financing in the long
run so they scale well. Government actors aren't self-financed (only
a small number are in charge of theft) so scaling is difficult. Also
voluntary transactions are easier to complete than coerced transactions
(think prostitution vs. rape) since there is no resistance.

We'll see.

Governments do not become nicer or nastier because of their capabilities
and attitudes. They become nastier or nicer because of *our* capabilities
and attitudes.