If You Never Miss a Plane...
George Stigler famously observed, “If you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time at the airport.” I heard that he wasn’t amused by his secretary’s corollary, “If you never make a typo, you’re typing too slow.” But he should have been. And I’m very amused to see Robin Hanson get in touch with his inner Stigler:
Look, in any area where we let humans do things, every once in a while there will be
a big screwup; that is the sort of creatures humans are. And if you
won’t decrease regulation without a screwup but will increase it with a
screwup, then you have a regulation ratchet: it only moves one way. So
if you don’t think a long period without a big disaster calls for
weaker regulations, but you do think a particular big disaster calls
for stronger regulation, well then you might as well just strengthen
regulations lots more right now, even without a disaster. Because that
is where your regulation ratchet is heading.