Carney on LOST

In his new column, Tim Carney looks at the unprincipled shortsightedness of companies supporting the Law of the Sea Treaty.

[T]he American Petroleum Institute supports U.S. ratification of the treaty, as does the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Why would these companies want the U.S. to endorse a global regulation—including environmental regulation or the power to prohibit exploration, mining, and drilling in some areas—and taxation of their industry? The answer is in the word “global.”

While Americans as a people are hardwired to resist giving real authority to supranational bodies—we’re skeptical of the UN, and we reject outright subjecting ourselves to the International Criminal Court—multinational businesses, in general, are warm to the idea of globalizing governance…

It’s understandable that business wants to simplify the hodgepodge of regulations they face from hundreds of different governments. Such simplification would provide some new economic efficiencies, too. But if LOST poses a threat to American sovereignty and would drive up the costs of natural resources, then business’s gain could be our loss.

Amen, to which I would add that businesses’ short-term gain through schemes like LOST leads to their long-term loss as well, since when economic freedom is eroded, everybody loses in the end.

For more on LOST’s threat to American sovereignty, see Jeremy Rabkin’s Issue Analysis on the treaty. Also, look soon for Doug Bandow‘s upcoming paper on LOST’s effect on entrepreneurship, upcoming from CEI.