The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized
How Regulations Affect Our Everyday Lives
By (author) Per L. Bylund
Publication date:03 August 2016
Length of book:192 pages
This book illuminates the real effects of regulations on people’s everyday lives. It traces the effects of regulations on an economy by working through the ripple effects of changes. In so doing, the book provides a fundamental understanding for the economy as an organism rather than a machine, and enlightens the reader by offering a model for understanding the economy and market. Regulations, which are restrictions placed on the working of the economy, have consequences, both intended and unintended, direct and indirect. While the direct effects are well understood, the indirect effects are often overlooked because they don’t fit with the machine understanding of an economy. More to the point, this book emphasizes the real effects of regulation and market change on individual actors, thereby stressing how the economy works to provide an individual with the options that exist in choice situations. We draft a new definition of prosperity and well-being which focuses on the individual’s access to valuable alternatives. From this point of view, the real implications of regulation are traced step by step, following the logic of exchange and the effects on individual actors rather than the economy as a whole.
Bylund (Oklahoma State) shows how markets help society improve choices about alternative future opportunities. Government regulations, in contrast, often make these choices less efficient for society as a whole. Bylund uses a thought experiment about the rational economic choices people in a small, simple, local society make. In a free market, apple growers and nail manufacturers depend on prices to signal the relative value of goods and services. These signals, in turn, guide entrepreneurs toward investments that make new, valuable things available. As economic production diversifies, prices coordinate entrepreneurs’ activities. When governments regulate and subsidize specific economic activities, they change entrepreneurs’ calculations about future investment, narrowing the possibilities for efficiently made and innovative products. Efforts to regulate or ban sweatshops, for example, hurt the unrealized potential of markets for increasing value in society. Markets allow for a more efficient and competent response to natural disasters than governments... [T]his clear, readable book will stimulate discussion in economics, business, philosophy, and economic policy classes. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.