How many times has something really catastrophic happened followed by people scratching their heads and saying, “There ought to be a law.” I wonder how many of these same people would call such laws “regulation” because that’s exactly what they are. Deregulation? Deregulation is the removal of laws, including laws that protect us from harm. In all the talk and rhetoric about less government and deregulation, this point is lost.
This morning I opened the newspaper to read about babies sick and dying in China because of tainted milk. I searched for articles from all over the world about the scandal. All of them contained the same refrain: tighter regulations. What does this say to me? There were not enough laws to protect these people from milk that could kill or harm their children.
When it comes right down to it, deregulation is only a good thing to people who are only concerned with making more money. Deregulation means letting the market (e.g., greed) determine entirely what should happen and what should not happen. Here in the US, we are experiencing firsthand what it means to let the market make decisions. It means letting greed make moral choices. It means letting corporations balance a baby’s life versus the cost to make its milk safer. Unfortunately, in many cases it is cheaper to let the child die than it is to fix the milk. There are profits to be made by putting someone into a house they can’t afford. Who cares if a family ends up on the street in three years? We made our money. The market made the decision for us.
When we use sanitized terms to describe real, human, moral conditions, when these terms become buzzwords, it is so easy to forget that real people with real lives are involved and affected. Deregulation means there are no laws to protect us from harm. Letting the market regulate itself means letting money and profit determine what decisions are made. Too often, these decisions have nothing to do with humanity and morality and instead focus entirely on making a profit.