More rules, equals less change. Discuss.

Are we too hard on ourselves as a nation? We are very keen on our rules in this country – and yet businesses claim they are over-regulated and this is stifling growth. However many people argue that places such as  Hong Kong grew precisely because there were rules and deals done there were properly governed. Even in trivial places we want rules – the #popleveson Tweets this weekend have been funny and clever, but still in amongst the comedy gold were people complaining that most people hadn’t understood the rules of the game…..

All of this can be dismissed as ‘just the British way’ but it does have a more serious side in stifling innovation and a willingness to change. The reaction to the Queens Speech this weekend is interesting. The press are critical of the government for not making rules to make growth happen, and yet business want less regulation. Less regulation brings with it occasional failure and sometimes a bit of uncertainty. But one thing you can be sure of is that market forces prevail.

The challenge for us all, as citizens is to recognise that sometimes good stuff happens and sometimes bad stuff happens. However over-regulation and profound risk aversion to prevent the bad stuff limits the opportunity for the good stuff, which feels like lose-lose? Do we need to loosen up a little…..?

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About iansthoughts

Chief Operating Officer at DEFRA, and former council Chief Executive. All views expressed are my own and not formal policy of my employers current or past.
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