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Give the British credit, but what about us?
Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 2001

reaping the benefits of prices that are lower than they would have otherwise been.

Regulators cannot avoid all start-up problems. Even after the start-up, the public must learn to expect short-term transients in the real world (such as the recent price spikes for natural gas and gasoline). Neither the stock market nor logic indicates that the accrual of market benefits will be perfectly smooth and continuous.

It is simply unrealistic to think that regulators can "get it right" the first time. As a society, if we undertook only those new ventures that would turn out perfectly the first time, we would still be climbing trees, waiting for the lion to find his food elsewhere. The sooner regulators recognize that deregulation is a process that will take several years to succeed, with many bumps in the road along the way, the sooner they will develop realistic rules that can accommodate problems rather than fail in the face of them.

George Backus
Policy Assessment Corporation
Arvada, Colo.

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