Beeld van een doolhof gemaakt van touwen met knopen erin
Beeld van een doolhof gemaakt van touwen met knopen erin

Drowning In Regulation

Tuesday 24 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm
Lecture and conversation | Radboud Reflects and Faculty of Law

Venue: Lecture Hall Complex, Radboud University

We are completely surrounded by rules and regulations. If you want to arrange something with the government, a healthcare institution or a company, brace yourself for the forms, attachments and rags of text. And in our attempt to make things simpler, we often just draft more rules. What does this say about how we humans think and organise society? What happens when our institutions are further clogged up by more rules? Are we doomed to get lost deeper and deeper in the maze of rules or is there a way out? Come hear lawyer Rowin Jansen and Marcel Becker discuss where the proliferation of rules comes from, what the consequences are and whether it could all be easier.

Big consequences

Regulations often serve two purposes: to serve citizens and to prevent fraud. The reproach is often made that the second goal gets in the way of the first: if you want to nip all fraud in the bud at all costs, you need a lot of rules and administration. Not surprisingly, many people start sweating at the very thought of their tax return. With so many rules, it is easy to unintentionally break one. This can sometimes have major consequences, as the benefits affair showed. Many regulations seem to be based on mistrust. Can we do things differently? How can we retain the human touch in the tangle of rules? And why is it that every attempt to simplify the rules only seems to complicate things further?

Overview is lost

Why not just lift some rules? Apparently, it is very difficult to tackle the maze of rules without creating rules again. At the same time, just abolishing rules is often impossible: even the people in charge often get in over their heads with all the rules, making it difficult to oversee the consequences of abolishing a rule. The overview seems lost.

Lawyer Rowin Jansen and philosopher Marcel Becker discuss the rule maze. Come and listen and ask your questions.

About the speakers

Rowin Jansen is a legal scholar at Radboud University. He studies the control and supervision of the Dutch AIVD and MIVD and also publishes on cyber operations, fundamental rights in the digital age, data processing in the national security domain and confidential information provision to parliament.

Marcel Becker is a philosopher at Radboud University. He is an expert in practical philosophy and applied ethics, especially ethics of public administration, ethics of digital media and legal (professional) ethics. 

This is a programme of Radboud Reflects and the Faculty of Law


  • Free admittance for students and Radboud Reflects subscribers
  • € 5,- for Radboud University and Radboudumc employees and Alumni Benefits Card-holders
  • € 7,50 for other participants

Payment can be done via iDeal. In the case this might be a problem. Please let us know  info [at] (info[at]reflects[dot]ru[dot]nl)

Kom je vaker naar de lezingen van Radboud Reflects? Dan is een Radboud Reflectsabonnement misschien interessant. 

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Tuesday 24 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm