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Freedom to HarmThe Lasting Legacy of the Laissez Faire Revival$
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Thomas O. McGarity

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300141245

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300141245.001.0001

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Disabled Government

Disabled Government

(p.217) 16 Disabled Government
Freedom to Harm

Thomas O. McGarity

Yale University Press

This chapter explains the institutional impact of the three assaults on the protective governmental infrastructure. The tendency of agencies to become captured by regulated interests and the related revolving door between agency and industry employment are longstanding problems that predate the Laissez Faire Revival. As companies found ways around existing regulatory restrictions during the Laissez Faire Revival, serious gaps in the protective governmental infrastructure became apparent. A conciliatory federal enforcement apparatus stressed accommodation over vigorous prosecution, and an emasculated civil justice system was far less inclined to hold companies accountable for the harmful consequences of their products and activities than it had been during the Public Interest Era. Private sector actors acquired greater freedom to pursue their economic goals without regard to the risks that their products and activities posed to their consumers, their workers, their neighbors, or the environment.

Keywords:   institutional impact, governmental infrastructure, Laissez Faire Revival, Public Interest Era, private sector

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