Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Institutional scerlosis

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanSeptember 19, 2009 9:26 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The Nightmare Of Regulatory Reform:

...the SEC and the CFTC, two agencies that have fought hard to stay apart while the products they regulate grow more and more intertwined. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the two should become one, but former House Financial Services Committee chairman Mike Oxley says the chances of that happening are about as good as him beating Tiger Woods.

This is obviously public choice theory at work. But more generally an inspection of history shows that institutions tend to go through phases, as if they have a life history like organisms. The Chinese dynastic cycle is a classic one, but consider the Roman Catholic church. Large corporate or bureaucratic entities have many advantages (e.g., economies of scale), but over time it seems that they develop cancerous growths which hijack the system and suck them for all they're worth until the organism collapses, or purges itself through some sort of chemo (consider the reorganization of the Papacy in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion).* Put another way, there is a shift from non-zero sum to zero sum dynamics. * Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy is a narrative which describes the several phases of that particular institution.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In