When I wrote my post “Most Blogs are terrible” it is only the patient who understood that my my actual target was regulation, not the quality of blogs. Now I am afraid that Manjunath’s tragic killing has brought things into sharper focus. Amit points to this article by Ila Patnaik, which argues that it is distorted policies that killed Manjunath.
The choice is clear. On the one hand, you can listen to the reformers, who say that competition is better than regulation in ensuring quality. You can see the obvious evidence that we are pointing to, that regulation does not ensure quality; it only engenders a patronage system. You can agree with us when we say that this patronage system has meant that success in the petrol pump business goes to the most ruthless criminals, not to the honest or to the efficient.
On the other, you could ignore the evidence and repeat the litany. You can say that the problem is not with regulation, but with their implementation. You can say that this only proves that we need more regulation. You can point to the criminals who run petrol pumps, and say, “These are the guys who will run loose if you remove all regulations. Do you still say that a free market is the way to go?”
Which do you choose?