* The Rule of Nobody by Philip Howard


The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government is more pamphlet than book and argues, vehemently and with appropriately ridiculous anecdotes, that the US is suffocating under a thick blanket of laws and regulations that virtually ensure that no sensible and timely decision can be made.

The author is very convincing: why, indeed, should legislators dictate the size of windows in nursing homes rather than allowing inspectors to use common sense to decide whether residents have enough fresh air — or any other of the many examples he uses? The great weakness of the book, in my mind, lies in the solutions that the author suggests, as he advocates no less than amendments to the constitution, all very sensible, starting with an automatic sunsetting of financial laws to force regular reviews — but it seems rather delusional to think that the very problems that have created the overdose of regulation would allow passing constitutional amendments. An A for surfacing the problem, but F for solutions.

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