The future belongs to those organizations, as well as those individuals, that have made an active, lifelong commitment to continue to learn.
People unable to engage in disciplined thought may sport trendy dress and use up-to-date argot, [but] they are essentially stranded in the same intellectual place as barbarians.
— Howard Gardner, Five Minds for the Future (2008) at 36.
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The Regulator’s Role: Thirty Years of Change, More Ahead
As of the late 1970s, utilities built infrastructure, served customers, made rate requests. Commissions approved projects and set rates. A regulator could describe her role in a single sentence: “We protect customers from monopoly abuse—from inefficiency, sloth, cost overruns, excessive rates.” Consumers were passive, at-risk individuals, lacking options, needing protection.
Today, regulation’s consumer protection role is only one star in a growing galaxy of responsibilities. Regulators make markets, plan infrastructure, collect and manage investment funds, incubate renewable energy, assess mergers, promote broadband, design energy-efficiency programs, provide low-income assistance, even run auctions. They host interest-group gatherings, resolve stakeholder differences, even act as political shields for executives and legislators paralyzed by the complexity of it all. . .