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(with Richard Stewart), Stanford Law Review, vol. 37, pp. 1333-1365 (1985)


In 1971, Ezra Mishan brilliantly satirized the views of a Dr. Pangloss, who argued that a world of largely unregulated pollution was "optimal" because cleanup would involve enormous transaction costs.' Less than 15 years later, Professor Latin uses the same Panglossian argument to rationalize the current regulatory status quo.2 He not only accepts but endorses our extraordinarily crude, costly, litigious and counterproductive system of technology-based environmental controls. Like Mishan's Pangloss, he seems to believe that if it were possible to have a better world, it would exist. Since it does not, the transaction costs involved in regulatory improvement must exceed the benefits. Proposals for basic change accordingly are dismissed as naive utopianism.

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