Regulation sucks. It creates unwieldy, non-scalable burdens that favor large-scale and industrialized modes of production and commerce, and raises massive barriers to entry for would-be start-ups and entrepreneurs. This is not to say that it is never justified, but only that the almost inevitably unjust side-effects of regulatory measures should be weighed very carefully against both the worth and the likelihood of the supposed goods they are meant to bring about.

My favorite illustration of this fundamental axiom of political thought comes from an old Corby Kummer article that explains the way that New York City’s ban on artificial trans fats had especially adverse effects on independent bakeries using traditional recipes that did not allow for easy substitutions. Along the way, the measure worked hugely to the advantage of those major producers who had the money and the technological wherewithal to have their R&D teams work overtime to brew up some clever synthetic substitutes – but “individual bakers”, as Kummer came to see, “were sunk”.

Not convinced by these lessons? Still of the conviction that you’re better off wielding the heavy hand of the state as a tool for social reform? Well here, via Jacob Sullum, is another sad token of the same general type.