Ah, regulations, sets of rules that businesses and parts of our economy have to follow — if they are enacted (big emphasis on if). Regulations play a key role in our economy as they offer a set of guidelines as to what companies and organizations can and cannot do. Regulations are so important that the government creates agencies to come up with helpful regulations. One such regulatory agency is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was created under President Nixon.

I mention Nixon because regulations can often be political as they help create a more involved government. The more rules the government places, the more impact it has on each of our lives. This goes along with the argument between big and small government; usually conservatives wish for a smaller government presence as liberals seek a larger one.

Either way you look at how involved the government should be, regulations are important for economic stability. Yes, we have a largely free market, but if it was completely free to do as it wanted with no regulations, the economy’s ability to wildly swing between both positive and negative extremes would be greatly increased.

Regulations are what helps prevent another 2008 recession by mitigating the risk of it happening and how bad it could get should it occur again. To go back to the EPA, some of the regulations it has imposed are carbon caps. Carbon caps are limits set on how much a company can emit before having to pay a fine or a sum to succeed that limit. A tax on carbon emissions can help ensure companies find ways to limit their emissions so they can lower their costs. Other regulations could be that companies have to install devices that lower their carbon output before they even begin production.

To see some of the regulations that the EPA have in place and what they do, visit:


In all, regulations can be extremely helpful for economic stability and protecting other areas like the environment. Regulations can be seen to go too far as well, as some regulations that may protect the environment may also slow economic growth. Depending on which you view to be more important, less regulations may be imposed to ensure a stronger economic growth at the cost of something else, like the environment.

Regulations as a whole are a double-edged sword; they can do great help and even some harm. It is possible to have many regulations enacted that may have been meant to do good, protecting something from happening, but instead slow progress and do not work in mitigating any risk. Luckily, most regulations enacted by agencies, or placed into effect via a presidential executive order, are useful to some extent.

Regulations aren’t just limited to the economy either: they can range from practices that must be followed in the medical field to how to conduct a legal firm. In the medical field, they can be used to protect patients from certain devices, drugs and more. Without regulations, you could be sold untested medication, have risky procedures performed on you or even faulty devices implanted within you. Regulations help prevent the marketing and use of such bad practices. Too many regulations could mean that potentially life-saving drugs never make it to the market or do so too late.

So, while you want protective regulatory action, you may also want flexibility built in. With just enough, but not too many regulations, the economy can be stable, our health can be secure and a helpful, but not overbearing, government for the people can be in place.


Evan Brooks is a third-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civic and Professional Leadership. EB0916132@wcupa.edu

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