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CAPSULE COMMENTARY: “Regulation Causes Corruption”


“The election of Vicente Fox as Mexico’s new president has raised hopes that government corruption will be ended. Don’t count on it. As long as people believe that government should regulate peaceful behavior, regulations interfering with mutually beneficial transactions will be enacted. And it’s those regulations that give rise to bribes as people try to avoid their effect. Thus, the only way to get rid of corruption is to repeal the regulations and abolish the regulatory agencies. That’s not likely to happen under Fox or any other Mexican politician. The second-best alternative is to continue letting the bribes take place, so that people’s wishes and plans will not be frustrated by government regulations. The worst thing that can happen to people in a tightly regulated society is to have government bureaucrats who cannot be bought off with a bribe.”

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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.