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Law Profs: We Need FDA-Style Approval for Laws

December 13, 2010

The FDA and its randomized trials have killed people. But never mind. The Boston Globe writes:

As Donald Green of Yale says, “We test pharmaceuticals because there are billions of dollars at stake, and lives.” The same, he argues, is true of our laws, yet we don’t subject them to the same scrutiny. “In some ways the question is, how badly do we want to know?”

Still, I like the spirit of the idea. One such trial over a fifty year period was Hong Kong versus the rest of China. We still have people who deny this obvious outcome and who, like the Boston Globe, rely on sentimental quackery and fairness-based homeopathy. The Globe expands its story on randomized law trials out of this paper:

In a paper to be published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review this spring, Yale professors Ayres and Yair Listokin and George Washington University law professor Michael Abramowicz advocate the systematic introduction of randomized trials throughout government — in legislatures and administrative agencies, at the state and federal level. They suggest that trials be “self-executing,” in that policies would be automatically enacted based on their results (though lawmakers would be able to overrule this default).

Not really “self-executing” if it can be overridden by vested interests, is it? Besides, the authors don’t even subject their own policy proposal to the same test–let’s suggest a “randomized” trial comparing countries who have FDA-style law approval with those that don’t.


  1. December 29, 2010 12:33 am

    The FDA is also horribly vague about what its stance on things. Any perusal of FDANews or their stance on social media should set the issue straight.

    I doubt that anyone who’s worked with the FDA would say that we need laws “FDA-style” unless they mean “Vague, archaic, and not applicable to the situations on the ground.”

  2. theKINGofKEENE permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:35 pm

    Good idea. Here in NH, the NH State Constituition has a “Right of Revolution” clause – ArticleX…I have already notified the Governors’ office of my full exercise of my rights under that Article. Today, I consider myself to be co-equal to the US FEDGOV. That means, I believe that I have *SOME* “authority” *over* the “gov’t” of NH…Sorry for the Asterisks&””, but I’m trying to keep this BRIEF! What I’m doing is exactly a form of random trial gov’t!….(“Cognitive Elites”???…WTF???…I need to bookmark this site…~theKINGofKEENE


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