We talked with Jonas about government regulation on businesses and it’s impact.
- What are your general thoughts on government regulation of businesses? “Government regulation should be measured by its ability to enable business without compromising consumer safety. Many see this as a zero-sum game in which either businesses or consumers will lose out when introducing new regulation. However, as compliance costs in businesses are often passed on to consumers, regulation is more complex than a simple zero-sum game. When done right, regulation can serve to enable new business and increase consumer safety – but this requires that policy makers think strategically and apply innovative regulatory tools, instead of relying solely on outdated ‘restrict and enforce’-mechanisms.”
- What makes the job of regulators specifically hard in the 21st century business environment? “Businesses are not what they used to be: regulating a steel-mill is one thing, regulating a multinational peer-to-peer, service-delivering tech-company is something different. The pace and scale of technological change and the constant disruptions of business models presents one key challenge for agencies involved in business regulation. It is about timing. Regulating too early means risking to put a stick in the wheel of true innovations and productivity improvements; snooze too long means risking being overrun and potentially harming consumer safety. These dynamics means that regulators need to engage more closely with the industry, become better at building networks and rely more heavily on guidelines rather than legislation. This will improve timeliness and flexibility.”
- If you were to highlight a case where we really made a difference in this space, what would it be? “We have helped the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) in identifying the future needs of the European shipping sector, in face of increasing global competition in the area. We assessed the regulatory needs in the sector that is currently undergoing big changes including the rise of unmanned ships, 3D printing etc. In shipping, a sector famous for notoriously detailed and complex international regulation, these new technological developments puts pressure on existing rules and practices.”