two—it made no difference. A goodnman was by turns old and young.”nGertrude Stein has commented thatnthere are no true characters, only characterntypes. True artistic vision isnachieved when a character type is soncarefully and precisely drawn that hentranscends the limits of thematics andnreveals insight into the self and thenhuman condition. While the themes ofnRegulation BluesnMurray L. Weidenbaum: The Futurenof Business Regulation; AMACOM;nNew York.nby Harold C. GordonnJL/uring the past fifteen years, federalnregulation of business has morenthan doubled. Operating costs have beennincreased, prices have been forced up,ncompanies have been driven bankrupt,njobs have been lost, consumer preferencesnhave been overridden, and constitutionalnrights have been tramplednupon by overzealous bureaucrats. Productivitynhas been slashed and innovationndulled. The price tag fornregulation has been estimated at overn1100 billion a year—more than 1500nfor every man, woman and child innAmerica—and this figure is likely tonincrease in the years ahead. What cannbe done?nA brave attempt to answer this questionnhas been made by Dr. MurraynWeidenbaum, Director of the Centernfor the Study of American Business atnWashington University in St. Louis,nand a leading critic of regulation. In hisnshort, balanced and fundamentally optimisticnbook, he offers some wise counselnon how to shrink big government.nThe chief defect of our present regulatorynsystem, maintains Dr. Weidenbaum,nlies not in its size, complexitynMr. Gordon is on the staff of the UnitednStates Industrial Council.nS4inChronicles of CulturenThe Dogs of March are not new innthe world of fiction and Howard Elmannis, in many ways, a character type asnfundamental to American literature asnNatty Bumppo being driven out by thenMarmaduke Temples of the world,nthere is an insight into the mechanicsnof the human will and the resiliency ofnthe human spirit which should not passnunnoticed. Dnor expense, but rather in its counterproductivennature. He writes:n”The encroachment of governmentnpower in the private sector in recentnyears has been massive. Moreover,nithasbeen, in the main, self-defeating.nDespite the noble intentions, governftientnintervention on an increasingnscale has interfered with and inhibitednthe ability of the typical businessnenterprise to meet the needs of thenconsumer. Furthermore, the interventionnhas occurred in ways whichnhave tended to minimize, rather thannmaximize, the achievement of thenbasic social objectives which havenbeen the motivating force for the expansionnof government involvementnin private decision malcing.”nThere is no dearth of examples withnwhich to illustrate the truth of thatnobservation. The Employee RetirementnIncome Security Act of 1974 (ERISA),ndesigned to safeguard workers’ pensions,ninstead caused thousands of smallerncompanies to terminate their pensionnplans because of the red tape it imposed.nThe Consumer Product Safety Commission,nby requiring that children’s sleepwearnbe fireproofed, led manufacturersnto adopt a flame retardant that wasnlater found to be carcinogenic. ThenEnvironmental Protection Agency, bynbanning the release of grain dust intonthe atmosphere, substantially increasednthe number of grain elevator explosionsnthroughout the country, with resultingnnet increases in pollution and loss ofnnnlife. The Occupational Safety and HealthnAdministration, after forcing employersnto spend millions to comply withnits regulations, has yet to prove thatnit has made workplaces appreciablynsafer.nRe. ulation so often backfires becausenthe modern bureaucrat, like AdamnSmith’s “man of system,” insists onnimposing his own master plans on reluctant,nindependent-minded individuals.n”Making operational business decisions,”nsays Dr. Weidenbaum, “isnprecisely what government shouldnavoid, but that is what now dominatesnso many regulatory programs.”nDirect intervention of this typenshould be used only as a last resort. Therenare other, less obtrusive ways of realizingnsocial goals. Tax incentives are one, andnproviding consumers with informationnis another. Most people prefer to makentheir own choices, and governmentnshould assist them in doing so, rathernthan trying to overrule them by regulatorynfiat.nOnce this change of direction hasnbeen effected, cost-benefit analyses,nsunset laws and other budgetary devicesncan be employed to further reducenthe role, and ultimately the size, ofngovernment. Dr. Weidenbaum seesnthree conditions as essential to bringingnabout this change: greater self-criticismnand self-restraint by government, greaternunderstanding on the part of thenpublic as to how our system works, andngreater involvement by business innshaping public attitudes and publicnpolicy.nA realist. Dr. Weidenbaum suggestsnthat the creation of the first and secondnconditions will depend on how successfulnthe business community is in creatingnthe third. Business must make a betterncase for itself than it is presently doing.nIt must improve its public image, itnmust encourage free enterprise advocatesnin the academy and in the media,nand it must convince the Americannpeople that they will derive substantialnbenefits from deregulation.n