My regular reader (Hi, Mom!) will know that I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about regulation. I'd been meaning to look into the BP oil spill, but via Davy, I find a nice, clear analysis of the root cause of the problem.
Yep! It's regulation. Once again, the regulation has been drafted to benefit those being "regulated". BP may well be liable for the costs of the cleanup, but over and above that, they are only liable for $75m.
The "vicious" regulation imposed by the US government means that BP can, and allegedly did, cut corners hugely on safety measures. In a free market, they would be liable to the total value of the company, so they'd be much more careful.
The same thing really applies to the banks. Back in the bad old days, banks were liable to the full value of their assets, so they were naturally more cautious. But after years of the government "knowing better", they have also created regulations (and fucking bailouts!) that let the banks get away with, if not quite murder, then definitely manslaughter.
Do go read the whole thing, it's very good.