February 28, 2010

Hindsight Bias Is Perfect

Philip Howard uses the title phrase and it struck a chord with me.

His lecture is on the law. How it has spun out of control in the USA, but something which also matches the UK experience of late. Here we are, after 13 years of a Labour government, with 4,300 new crimes on the books, (83% from the EU) and a further 120,000 new regulations (these ALL come to us from Brussels) that strangle business. With hindsight, we can be sure that we did not need the 4,300 new crimes, and we certainly didn't need the 120,000 new regulations that the EU drown us with, but, (even though I am not a law practitioner), I knew before that we didn't need them. I call my gift foresight. I needed no special training, and I did not even need 7 years at law school to know that an over-abundance of law stifles everyone. Everyone is hurt by that one law which came into being to protect just one imbecile.

Mr Howard quotes Edison in his lecture: "Hell no, we don't have any rules and regulations around here. We're trying to get something done". How many humans, and how many businesses, would get an awful lot more done if they weren't bogged down by petty regulations, whose only purpose is to keep whey-faced pecksniffs in a job?

An interesting 18 minutes. I felt that it was time well spent. I know it is US centric, but as I keep saying, when they sneeze, we catch a cold.



Twisted Root said...

Sounds good, but you forget that this was a lawyer speaking and what he calls for at the end (and got the loudest round of applause) was for no right of redress for the individual against authoritarian government edict.

Captain Ranty said...


I know, I know. He doesn't offer a perfect solution, but I thought it was heading in the right direction: he wants judges to be able to use their own common sense, instead of insane guidelines spewed out by the government. I doubt that we could ever hope to find a truly impartial judge, but seeking them out is a beginning.

Reverting to common law (common sense) might just see the bad guys going away for a long time and those who have hurt no-one, staying free.

And if you spill hot coffee on yourself, you do NOT get awarded thousands of pounds. You get told "You are a silly cow, now get out of my courtroom".


Lion of England said...

Most of what he said was the truth as well for the USA, as GB,a good video.