Government Regulation: Good, Bad, Necessary?

This is a question thread, please comment regarding this issue:

What do you see to be the pros and cons of a regulated or deregulated energy policy? Which policy do you prefer as a rule? Would a “perfect world” cause you to choose a different policy?

Personally, I believe that a deregulated (I mean truly deregulated, not this deregulated in name only such as the system currently in place in California, which is predictably causing the politicians to say “see, a deregulated system is failing, we need to reregulate (which means slap on the old regulations in addition to the new regulations plus a few more for good measure) the industry”.

I believe that innovation is the first thing to be stifled in a regulated environment. Look at the incident in New York Harbor where some guy had built himself a submarine and was operating it (admittedly rather close to what could have been a juicy terrorist target). The government ought not own the waterways. What would happen to an independent scientist such as Edison or Bell if they came along now days? They’d be sued out of existence in a heartbeat.

I further believe that unregulated innovation is the key to the future safety of America and the world. Let them build a bigger, better bomb: we’ll be building the bigger, better shield in our backyards and in our barns, and in our warehouses on 74th St. Let them say ethanol is a better fuel, we’ll be outfitting DeLoreans with garbage-eating nuclear power plants and flying off to the future.

I further believe that because corporations are understandably and justifiably interested primarily in their own bottom lines, they are less likely to support risky endeavors. The current power companies in Edison’s time would have dropped him for the secure investment of gas lights.

So, what are your thoughts? Do not limit yourself to energy though, Government Regulation is the topic.

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