The Two Sides of Social Regulation
The issue of commercializing social regulation presents itself vividly in the article, Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect by Bruce Yandle. Even though, there is a substantial difference between Bootleggers and Baptists in terms of social regulation, it is undeniable that the values supported by the Baptists regarding environmental regulation and the economic interests supported by the Bootleggers thrive in the name of social regulation. On one hand, the Baptists advocate for social regulation on a moral basis and as such, support public incentives that will arise from policies regulating the environment. However, the Bootleggers seek to gain financial profits from the regulations supported passionately by the Baptists. As such, the boundary between the Baptists and Bootleggers is rapidly dissipating due to the different interests exuded by politicians and companies alike in today’s society.
Bootleggers depend significantly on the decisions to support certain environmental regulations by Baptists. Even though Baptists support such regulations based on the moral nature of such policies, Bootleggers look at the financial gains that will arise from such regulations within their business environments. For instance, the support by Baptists towards the regulation of alcoholic beverages was a considerable incentive on the part of Bootleggers. In order to regulate alcoholic drinks, Sunday sales from legal outlets faced banning. For Baptists, this decision was morally upright. However, this was different for Bootleggers since their support for the regulation mainly focused on limiting competition. As such, it is true that Bootleggers can depend on Baptists to observe the passing and performance of regulations, which will benefit them. This assertion solely illustrates the indifference between Baptists and Bootleggers in social regulation.
Adding on, there are specific regulations that Bootleggers support based on the positive impact they have on their businesses. Such regulations mainly comprise federal environmental policies. These policies replaced common law with specification standards, which were more beneficial to existing corporations since they set stricter limitations for expanding and novel firms. Thus, such regulations induced entry barriers, which would assist in limiting competition and further monopolize existing companies. Furthermore, the use of such regulations would be impossible without the input of Baptists. This is because the policies, which also comprise technology standards, require the inclusion of eco-based technologies within companies, which according to environmental lobbyists, supports the moral obligation regarding environmental regulation. For instance, the Clean Air Act of 1977 mandated new coal-driven plants to install costly scrubbers.
The act gained the support of environmental groups based on reduction of production of high-sulphur coal. The act also gained support from interest groups based on its impact on reducing competition in coal production. Furthermore, the creation of further technology standards, productivity restrictions, discrepancy requirements for novel and existing sources as well as performance appraisals for novel sources illustrate the work done by Baptists and Bootleggers in accomplishing different interests. For instance, the conservation of the Northern Spotted Owl in the 1990s saw the allocation of huge tracts of forest terrain and owl habitats as well as the restriction towards tree cutting in the Pacific Northwest. This increased the prices of lumber leading to timber firms such as Weyerhaeuser Corporation to gain US$ 86.6 million within the first quarter as well as the extension of owl habitats.
In conclusion, social regulation comprises a modern form of gaining economies of scale among corporations based on the support for particular regulations by Bootleggers and Baptists. Even though Baptists focus on the moral aspect of the regulation, Bootleggers clearly focus on gaining financially. Furthermore, the line separating Baptists and Bootleggers further dissipates based on the donning of Baptist covers by politicians in order to push for policies that satisfy their bootlegging efforts especially in cases such as the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, the inclusion of morals and interests formulates social regulation in the present and forthcoming ages.