Flowers And Fences

Michael Giberson

I was also among the energy market conventioneers, enjoying the day and a half of discussions among proponents of competition in energy markets. While the convention was filled with folks who support development of energy markets, there was a substantial diversity of views and a lot of healthy discussion.

In the next several days I suspect that both of us will have a few things to say about the program. But Lynneís photo from her garden reminded me of the discussion of federalism at one of the Tuesday morning sessions, supplying me too late with the metaphor I needed early today, and inspiring this brief comment.

Up for discussion was whether the lines between state and regulatory authority needed to be redrawn in order for energy markets to succeed. Several comments were made, wary of centralizing more authority at the federal level, and the familiar line offered: Letís let a thousand flowers bloom. Iím sympathetic to this view, in fact Iíve probably made the same argument myself, but my (minority?) perspective was that under the current regime the states were too empowered to interfere in interstate commerce.

Lynneís picture, a flower in front of a fence, provides the alternative metaphor I needed. Iím all in favor of letting a thousand flowers bloom, but I what Iím afraid of is getting a thousand fences instead.