The Hidden Evils Of Regulation

Because of a German regulation about the number of non-reusable containers Germany may face of shortage of beer. If you thought the hellish taxes of the Schroeder government were bad, just wait until the German populace can’t get enough heifeweizen… within days Germany could be thrown into anarchy.

German drinkers could be about to face their worst nightmare — a beer shortage.

The potential trickle in the supply of the nation’s favourite tipple is due to new government regulations restricting deposits of disposable cans and bottles which takes effect in January.

Retailers say it may mean there may not be enough beer in shops.

The government is imposing charges on non-reusable containers because it says the percentage of recycled cans and bottles has fallen below a 72 percent minimum target set in 1997.

"We may not have enough beer available to meet the demand in January," Jan Holzweissig, spokesman for the German retailers’ association, told Reuters. "A lot of stores are planning to remove beer and other drinks in disposable containers off their shelves next month because of the new rules."

This is a perfect example of Jay’s Law of Public Policy: every public policy has at least one major unintended negative side effect, and the more utopian the policy the worse the side effect will be. It’s why a rule on recycling can produce a major beer shortage or a Kyoto Treaty can run the world economy into the ground.

Of course, governments don’t bother to consider such effects as a general rule. Instead they’re caught into a cycle of finding a problem, creating a new regulation to fix it, having that regulation cause more problems, therefore requiring new regulations and thus beginning the cycle all over again. Which is why those who say that the fewer the regulations the greater the freedom are exactly right.

One thought on “The Hidden Evils Of Regulation

  1. “Kyoto Treaty can run the world economy into the ground.”

    No, no, and for the last time, no! Even Bjorn “Skeptical Environmentalist” Lomborg estimated the the Kyoto treaty would have a worldwide NET ECONOMIC BENEFIT of $61 Billion a year- and would set back the US economy’s growth curve by a whopping four months. In other words, we’d have to wait until January of 2025 to be as rich as we would have beein in September of 2024. Boo-hoo. To stimulate the economies of numerous third-world nations through emissions-trading and prevent the consequences of global warming (famines and storms that could kill millions, especially in places like India and Bangladesh), it’s very much worth the comparatively small price.

    I also recommend taking a look at Peter Singer’s latest book, “One World: The Ethics of Globalization”, a liberal approach to globalization that rests on the basic thesis that the rich nations of the west have a responsiblity to protect the rest of the globe in the economic and environmental spheres, not only millitarily. Of course, he points out the big problem- most people aren’t ready for governments that consider the lives of non-citizens equal to their own…

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