Is there too much governmental regulation on business?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is no objective way to determine whether the government of any country puts “too many” regulations on business. Some amount of regulation is almost certainly necessary, but at some point, regulation could be seen as excessive.  However, the exact nature of the point where regulations stop being necessary is a matter of opinion.

Most people would agree that we would face serious problems if we had no government regulations on businesses.  For example, it would be bad for public health if businesses could legally dispose of hazardous waste in our waterways.  It would presumably be bad for our health if drug companies could market pharmaceuticals that had not been adequately tested for effectiveness and for safety.  Almost everyone can agree that these regulations are necessary.

However, there are other sorts of regulations that people do not agree upon.  For example, not everyone agrees that businesses should be required to ban smoking on their premises.  Not everyone agrees that businesses should be required to pay their workers no less than a certain minimum wage.  Not everyone agrees that banks and other financial institutions should have to spend significant amounts of time and resources filling out forms that are meant to prove they are not defrauding their depositors and investors (the opposition to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is based on this issue).

Many conservatives believe that regulations like these are excessive.  They say that the regulations make it harder for businesses to start up and to employ people.  They say that the regulations cost business money, making it harder for them to stay profitable.  At the same time, many liberals believe that the regulations that we have are necessary to keep companies from harming society in their pursuit of profit.  There is no way to objectively determine which side of this argument has it right.

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