The Player and the Referee
By Arnold Kling
neither environmentalists nor Brazilian politicians have raised concerns about exploiting oil in the waters off the Brazilian coast.
it is also worth noting that the Brazilian government has a 58% controlling stake in Petrobras’s voting shares and 32% of its total shares.
…In 1995, the British government sold its final remaining shares of British Petroleum, which had been largely privatized throughout the 1980s. In October 1996, a British member of the European Parliament, Socialist Richard Howitt, began harassing BP for alleged environmental and human-rights violations in Colombia. Had the company suddenly gone from being a model citizen to a murderous, contaminating corporation?
If what you want is more oil drilling, then it is better for government to be a player-referee than to just be the referee. In general, however, I think it is not a good idea to combine the referee function with the player function.
When you combine being a player with being a referee, the game is corrupted. That’s the way I see it. The way a progressive looks at it, the more the referee gets involved, the better the game gets.