Dark side of regulation in America

Posted on September 26, 2009  /  0 Comments

Developed countries are generally perceived to be the gardens of best practices. Most of these countries’ lawmakers and lawbreakers (Including the diplomats and consultants)  frequently lecture us on how to do the right thing. But we hardly know about their dirty laundry. Mitchell Lazarus unfolds the regulatory dark side in the USA.

The technical rules that deal with mature products are relatively general. But the FCC tends to regulate newer technologies in much greater detail. The specifics in the rules act like a filter, letting through some kinds of products while blocking or delaying others. Such regulation can, naturally enough, create a barrier to innovation.

The need for a rule change or a waiver would be no big deal if it happened quickly. It doesn’t. Changes to accommodate new technologies take at least two to three years, and in some cases drag on for four or five years. Amending just one number in a rule can be as slow as adding a whole new category of rules. Even waivers, which are procedurally simpler, need a year or two, sometimes more.

Lazarus also guides the way out in the current issue of IEEE Spectrum.

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