Where did all the innovation go?

Over at Borepatch, there’s an excellent summary of why nobody seems able to get anything done anymore. Short answer: Government ate it. You knew I was going to say that, right?

A mere portion of the long answer:

Let’s think about fast and slow. The Empire State Building was built in a little over 15 months. The World Trade Center (Tower 1) took 52 months, and that was in 1970. Today, Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground.

The reason is regulation (and its bastard child, litigation). That’s the problem. We have buildings full of people that make us stop what we’re doing, fill out forms in triplicate, and then wait months or years before we are allowed to pick up where we stopped. Think for a minute what this does. It pushes some of the middle of the S-Curve into the flat part, reducing the overall value of the industry, as resources get sidelined instead of being engaged in production. More damagingly, it pushes the next S-Curve to the right, increasing the time that it takes to bring a new industry online. Most damagingly of all, it possibly completely eliminates some S-Curves from appearing at all, because the risk is too high to attract investors.

It’s not the tax rate, it’s the regulation rate that’s making the economy run down. Sarbanes-Oxley, passed in great haste after Enron’s collapse, has all but destroyed the high tech IPO market. Think of that as S-Curves that never came into existence.

RTWT. The comments are pretty good, too.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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One Response to Where did all the innovation go?

  1. GunRights4US says:

    Even much older business-strangling statutes like Davis-Bacon are being vigorously enforced these days. As the CFO for a commercial construction company, i can tell you that DOL is making my life, and the lives of my subcontractors, a living hell!

To the stake with the heretic!