To Deregulate = To unsettle ?

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Senior Member
France, French

I'm writing a text in English about climate change and I would like to know if the word "deregulate" has only financial applications (as it seemsed to be the case when I checked on WordReference) Here's my sentence:

"The title of the movie indicates that the story is a simple projection of what our planet might look like in the future if we don’t take care of it. Therefore, it suggests that we’re destroying the earth slowly by deregulating the natural balance"

I'm not working from French. Thanks again!!!! :)
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It has other legal meanings that don't fit your context either. I'd use disturb; others may have better ideas.


    Senior Member
    France, French
    OK, so I guess that "to deregulate" can be used in the political sphere and the economic field and also in a wider context if you preserve the meaning of the word and apply it to another context... am I correct?

    Anyway, thanks a lot! :)

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    To my ear, use of "deregulate" in this context is unnatural. :D Of course, what I really mean is "not natural", but I can shoehorn the literal meaning of "unnatural" into the sentence to make it fit, if I'm willing to strain the normal usage of the word.

    Exactly the same sort of strained usage is required to use "deregulate" to refer to the "natural balance". The earlier suggestions (disturb, upset) are much more "natural" English in this context.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Surely all of the meanings of deregulate relate to the underlying meaning - the removal of rules, controls or restrictions.
    The "natural balance" is a complex system of interactions that follows a set of natural rules that govern its response to various environmental and other factors - so complex that it is far beyond our current comprehension.

    We are changing some of those factors beyond the limits previously experienced, but I don't think we are deregulating anything.


    ** Oregon USA ** English **
    we’re destroying the earth slowly by deregulating the natural balance

    I agree with the others -- deregulate in this context is no good.

    Deregulate implies doing something with a specific purpose. The quote would mean that we want to destroy the earth, and so we are intentionally causing changes in the natural balance so that the destruction can happen. Deregulate also implies that first, people created some regulations. The "natural balance" was not created by people or by our regulations. How can we deregulate something that we never regulated in the first place?

    You'll have to use upset or disburb, as suggested by others.

    Lady Dungeness

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