We have heard that one of the sources of the current economic mess in the world was a lack of regulation of banking and insurance industries. Trillions of dollars of bad debt have come to light. The government has allocated hundreds of billions of dollars to help prevent the banking and insurance industries collapse.
On the other hand, the Congress of the U.S. has just passed a new set of regulations for the credit card industry. The government has assured the banks and Wall Street that they will be regulated to prevent such huge errors of "judgement" in the future. The government will regulate the economy to keep us safe.
The government has also regulated other things in the past. The use of drugs, for example, is the subject of much legislation, both as regards prescription drugs and recreational drugs. We even have been waging a "war on drugs" for 30 or so years.
The government has attempted to regulate the importing of goods and people’s sex lives and economic activities on Sundays (blue laws).
But these attempts at regulation are almost universally total and complete failures. Why is that?
I suggest that in almost every case of government regulation a large amount of money is involved. The near failure of the banking and insurance industries involved trillions of dollars. The credit card industry also involves hundreds of billions of dollars. Organized crime has a yearly gross income in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
I suggest that it is impossible to regulate or control human behavior when dealing with such large amounts of money. I suggest that the people who go after such large amounts of money, (and almost everyone wants as much of that money as they can get) are among the richest and most powerful people in the world. They can use their money to influence the laws that are passed and how those laws are enforced (or ignored). Every city has organized crime corrupting the police and the court system. How do we know? Because organized crime is a mass marketing system, like Wal-Mart but illegal. You can’t sell that much merchandise and services to the general public without many people knowing who the salesmen are and where they are. With such widely distributed knowledge of who is participating in organized crime, the only way they can conduct their business is to corrupt the police and courts. This they can do using money.
The powerful people who are trying to get the vast amounts of money involved in banking and insurance are just as willing to do illegal and unethical things and if they are not, they will soon be replaced by those who are willing. There is a tremendous amount of motivation to do whatever it takes to get some of those billions and there are many people who will yield to that temptation no matter what they have to do.
In short, even if it wanted to do so the government could not regulate human behavior effectively to prevent fraud, graft, corruption, cheating, theft, and anything else you can think of that might possibly gain money for those committing these immoral actions. Large amounts of money destroy the law as surely as a tornado destroys mobile homes.
It doesn’t matter whom we elect or what laws are passed or who is trying to enforce the law. (Remember the "Untouchables"? Remember how they eliminated organized crime in Chicago? That’s right, they didn’t eliminate it.) A large amount of money will overwhelm such efforts to regulate and bring destruction and catastrophe in its wake. This has been true in every nation for all of recorded history.
What lesson do you learn from this?
A. The Libertarians are right, regulation is hopeless so don’t even try.
B. We just have to be better people and love our neighbors.
C. The socialists are right. If the government owns everything then there will be no need for regulation.
D. People are pretty stupid.
E. If you are smart enough and rich enough you can get away with anything.
F. That I wasted my time reading a depressing post about something I can’t do anything about.
G. See, we should have elected a Republican Administration in 2008.
H. See, we should have elected a Democratic Administration in 2000.
I. The Yankees will win the World Series this year.
J. Other: please specify.