Volume 19

Regulation, Ethics and 'Policy Technology'

by Geoff Brennan and Geoff Sayre-McCord

Regulation comes in many forms. Indeed, regulation comes in so many that one might reasonably worry that all that might usefully be said about the ethics of regulation would have to focus on specific regulations (as issued by, say, the FDA) or on specific kinds of regulations (e.g., government regulations as opposed to other kinds of social regulations). Is there anything worth saying about the ethics of regulation in general? We think so—we argue that viewing social regulation, whatever form it takes, should be seen as a matter of policy technology, and that so doing offers a framework for thinking fruitfully about the whole range of regulation in ways that anticipate and illuminate serious ethical issues that regulation (of whatever kind) might pose or address.

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