Partly Regulated

In two days I shall leave for Nagpur to attend a conference, rather pompously titled ‘Ecology and future society’. The conference shall, primarily (I am warned), consist of staunch Socialists. There are two reasons why this bothers me: a) Socialists never listen! That I know from the experience of having been one by default not very long ago and 2) Because my paper suggests the most capitalist alternative plausible.

Unfortunately the fact that I am not presenting a paper to win, convince or to emerge victorious, complete with battle cries, is, something poorly understood in such circles. The effort ought to be viewed as a search for regulatory alternatives to command and control. My suggestion is merely that the use of self-regulation *may* help the environment.

Part of the defensiveness is because, the only option recognized is a choice between two mutually exclusive policy options: “strict” command and control on one hand, and “pure” self-regulation on the other. There could be a much richer range of policy options if only explored. Most policy options today for example fall somewhere between these two theoretical extremes.

Mixed policies aren’t necessarily always mixed up– look at them as a transition to the better extreme. All Indian policies have a distinct welfare-ist and Socialist bias– I’m suggesting we start to tilt the other way. For all I know in the vast majority of circumstances, a combination of self-regulation and command and control will provide the ideal regulatory outcome…