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Regulations do not violate the presumption of innocent - they are jurisprudential signals. A law against murder does not violate the presumption of innocence; rather, it is a signal that denotes a consequence that will be levied upon the violator of the law. This is the same standard that regulations follow. A law is a "regulation" on behavior in the way that legislative regulations are, in fact, "regulations" on business behavior.

Is this a correct assessment of Laws and Regulations?

asked Mar 18 '11 at 20:23

Fareed's gravatar image


edited Mar 04 '13 at 12:15

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Most regulation by government is, in fact, part of the legal code. The regulatory agencies tasked with enforcing certain laws are given the ability to make regulations that have the force of law.

The idea of "presumption of innocence" is a legal concept primarily related to criminal law and individuals charged under it. A lot of business regulation falls under "civil" law, not criminal.

What different laws may be -- and how they may differ from what we term as "natural law" -- can be a subject to examine when looking at laws regulating people and businesses.

(Mar 19 '11 at 07:49) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image

I always consider regulations to be based on the premise "guilty until proven innocent" -- regulators must come inspect your factory to make sure you're not dumping noxious chemicals into the water supply, or regulators must inspect your restaurant to make sure you're not spiking your food with rat poison, or the FDA must test your new life-saving drug to make sure it doesn't kill people. Regulations start with the presumption of guilt, which is preventative law, the opposite of what this nation’s judicial system is supposed to rest on: innocence until proven guilty.

(Mar 19 '11 at 08:41) Joseph Kellard ♦ Joseph%20Kellard's gravatar image

Laws: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/ Regulations: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/

(Mar 19 '11 at 21:39) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Economic regulation is far, far more than "a signal that denotes a consequence..."


[Economic regulation is] Defined as the "imposition of rules by a government, backed by the use of penalties, that are intended specifically to modify the economic behavior of individuals and firms in the private sector,"


Governments use economic regulation to improve the efficiency with which society's resources are allocated, to alter the distribution of income and to achieve broad social or cultural goals.

(Mar 22 '11 at 21:52) Alfred Centauri Alfred%20Centauri's gravatar image
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I answered this question in a recent edition of my Rationally Selfish Webcast.  An audio recording of my response is available as a podcast here: NoodleCast #66: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast. The discussion of this question runs from 46:07 to 57:13. 

My basic view is that legislation differs from regulations on two axes: the source of the laws and their objectivity. However, the critical issue for any law is whether it violates individual rights or not.

answered Mar 25 '11 at 18:42

Diana%20Hsieh's gravatar image

Diana Hsieh ♦

edited Mar 30 '11 at 17:21

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Asked: Mar 18 '11 at 20:23

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Last updated: Mar 04 '13 at 12:15