Give Me Regulation: From Samuel Insull to James E. Rogers in the Electric Power Industry

Policy Forum
October 12, 2012 12:00PM
Policy Center with Foyer
Featuring Robert L. Bradley Jr., Founder and CEO, Institute for Energy Research; moderated by David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute.

Milton Friedman once said, “The two greatest enemies of free enterprise in the United States… have been, on the one hand, my fellow intellectuals and, on the other hand, the business corporations of this country.” The history of public-utility regulation and environmental regulation in the electricity industry is an example of Friedman’s point, with Insull (Commonwealth Edison) fathering public-utility regulation a century ago and Rogers (Duke Energy) sponsoring CO2 regulation today.

Why did these industry leaders — and so many others — forsake free-market competition given the perils of relying on politics? And what are the public policy implications today for one of America’s most regulated industries?

This talk draws upon Bradley’s most recent book, Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies, the second volume in his trilogy on political capitalism in the energy industry.