Ashton Kutcher on how regulations are stifling startup innovation

February 26, 2014
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Ashton Kutcher on government regulations

As a managing partner at an investment firm, Ashton Kutcher is highly invested in the technology sector and is often advising companies that are on the cutting edge, but innovations are not always welcomed by local and state governments, or even the federal government.

As an investor in Uber.com, an on-demand black car service that uses GPS to connect a driver with a rider. The company has seen controversy as it has rolled out across the globe, with regulations often standing in the way.

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Kutcher, in his typical fashion uses a Florida city as an example, calling the regulations “antiquated,” referring to laws that were written decades ago that policymakers are trying to apply to modern businesses like Uber.

Uber is a rapidly growing company that offers a service that consumers clearly want, and a company that created jobs overnight. Kutcher mentions the special interest groups that often grease the wheels and stifles innovation.



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His sentiments are not unique.

Last fall, Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University told Inc. that regulations should not be banished in the name of startups, but that rules should be more concise.

Cowen takes it a step further and opines that deregulation should be incentivized. “The point isn’t that we should eliminate all regulation or give up on clean air and water. In fact, we may need tougher guidelines–albeit simpler ones–to govern what is permissible for activities like financial risk-taking or burning coal. Still, a paring back of regulation in many areas, based on clearer priorities, seems in order.”

The truth is that local, state, and federal governing bodies are not up to the task of keeping up. The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has had their budget shrunk by a third since the 80s, and regulatory agencies have seen their budgets grow 225 percent. What the what?

We can all understand why regulating innovations like Bitcoin is a challenge, but minor laws surrounding taxi licensing in a city should never hold back job creation and innovation. Kutcher called it a “mafioso, village mentality” against the “new guy,” with regulators looking to maintain the status quo.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.


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