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University of Georgia School of Law

Journal

2021

Regulatory Trade-Offs

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The Expressiveness Of Regulatory Trade-Offs, Benjamin M. Chen Jan 2021

The Expressiveness Of Regulatory Trade-Offs, Benjamin M. Chen

Georgia Law Review

Trade-offs between a sacred value—like human life—
against a secular one—like money—are considered taboo.
People are supposed to be offended by such trade-offs and to
punish those who contemplate them. Yet the last decades in the
United States have witnessed the rise of the cost-benefit state.
Most major rules promulgated today undergo a regulatory
impact analysis, and agencies monetize risks as grave as those
to human life and values as abstract as human dignity.
Prominent academics and lawmakers advocate the weighing of
costs and benefits as an element of rational regulation. The
cost-benefit revolution is a technocratic coup, however, if …