Sunday, June 26, 2016

The law of bad ideas

I got this  funny but truthful adage on the "Law of bad ideas" -- bad ideas never go away, they just get worse over time.

"Bad ideas don’t go away until they have been tried and failed multiple times, and generally not even then."

Like this report, "Robots liable to pay social security in future regulation"

If robots (or owners of robots) as "electronic persons" should pay social security, then robots as "electronic voters" should also be allowed to vote. haha. EU bureaucrats who suggested this would love the former but not the latter.

The author followed this up with five corollary comments:

Corollary #1: Left alone, bad ideas get worse over time.

Corollary #2: The overwhelming desire to implement bad ideas leads to compromises guaranteed to make things worse.

Corollary #: Those in positions of political power not only have the worst ideas, they also have the means to see those ideas are implemented.

Corollary #4: The worse the idea, the more likely it is to be embraced by academia and political opportunists.

Corollary #5: No idea is so bad it cannot be made worse.

This is similar to social application of Newton's 3rd law of motion, "for every action there is an equal opposite reaction". The social application would look  like this: "For every government intervention, there is  an  equal opposite distortion... that necessitates another round of intervention."

A friend commented that “notice "compromise" never results in lesser government. Just not as much growth as Bad Ideas proposes.”

Well, the default mode of government is to keep expanding and expanding. Say Government spending for decades of 20% of GDP becomes 25%, 33%, 40%, and so on. A no-compromise, "zero government" (anarchist) position would easily allow this to happen because in major public consultations, the room will only be filled by "big but good governance", "big govt whatsoever", "socialist government" folks.

A compromise, minimal government stand helps check further expansion of govt. Say from 25% it helps control its growth to only 30% of GDP instead of 40, 50%. One must compromise and engage government, its officials and bureaucrats, the statists and socialists, in official public consultations and debates. Many government officials, despite their penchant for more regulations, actually listen to sensible recommendations backed up by data.

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