A new feature here at Vox Politico...
The origin is straightforward: the past few years (at least) I have noticed that the phrase "virtually unregulated" has become a standard rhetorical alarm, often triggered while calling for--of course--new regulations on whatever realm of activity the speaker has targeted.
Research for this feature is also straightforward, but it's not because I'm lazy (not that I'm not lazy). No, the idea is to take an ether sample by which to assay the ambitions of bureaucrats, legislators, would-be politicians and, especially, cheerleaders for ever more government regulation.
Thus, the method for VUW will be to examine the top Google News results for the phrase "virtually unregulated"and report here the breakdown of topics and any other aspects that stand out. (Using Google News because plain vanilla Google results included some rather dated articles.) So, here we go.
"Virtually Unregulated" search at Google
October 15, 2010 results:
1. casualisation (I'd never heard of it either)
2. fishing and hunting...100+ years ago
3. communications (This one seems to use the key phrase in a non-fear-mongering way.)
4. tax sales (Another strange one.)
5. "rise of poker machines"
6. independent caregivers (in Mesa County, CO)
7. the service sector -- "Across the country, the service sector employs millions at shopping corridors, stadiums and tourist zones, locations that go virtually unregulated by labor laws or include special exemptions like the restaurant industry tip credit." [more]
8. immigration...in Sweden
It's an odd collection, yet one can glean from even this quick view of the data an interest in controlling how people earn a living, where they live and how they entertain themselves. No big surprises there, but we shall see what future samples of the Net add to this.