Thursday, April 03, 2008

cranial tragedy

What's that poor excuse for government licensing requirements-- oh yes, oversight for public safety purposes.

Stories like the recent tragic crane collapse in Manhattan which killed seven [see the shocking NY Times report here] bring to light what I call counterfeit goods, the supposed 'public goods' which the intervention of government is allegedly providing but is not in reality. It's no surprise at all to me that such tragedies occur when society mistakenly relies upon a unaccountable government agency whose task is to oversee that crane operators know what they're doing.

This does not mean to say that I think that construction 'accidents' never just happen; I just think it more likely to be the case because of the existing statist-quo than perhaps what counterfactually might occur otherwise in a privately regulated industry.

I'm also quite interested to learn if the insurance companies that insure the crane operators rely on those very same government-approved credentials/licenses to be their sole assurance against underwriting an excessive risk.

In any case, the provision of the supposed oversight by government agency also tends to crowd out private efforts to do the same, especially if the insurance companies didn't overtly prefer a private evaluation of those same credentials.

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