Friday, July 19, 2013

The verdict is in

Can we finally put an end to the great experiment in self regulation by industry?

The results are in. It doesn't work.

It was a grand idea, premised on the hope that business owners and managers were ethical folks, good citizens and neighbours who would do the right thing.

They are, but the reality is that you can't regulate yourself or other people in your industry.

It is asking too much.

Shareholders demand increased profits, which means cutting costs, which translates into reducing staff, which means insufficient oversight in the abattoirs, inadequate train crews, and no one looking over the shoulder of bankers granting mortgages to people who have no ability to make the payments.

You can't sanction another member of your industry association because next week he'll be sitting in judgement on your company and will give as good as he got, or you'll be sitting across a table trying to do a deal with him.

Even decent, well-intentioned, good guys often cave.

So the cowshit gets into the beef, and the runaway train wipes out a town, and the entire world economy collapses. The fish disappear from the oceans, the glaciers melt, cancer patients get diluted drugs, the list is endless.

It's time to re-institute regulation by people who have no skin in the game.

4 comments:

  1. I think businesses and corporations know perfectly well that self-regulation does not work. When they say something should be "self-regulated," it's code for "not regulated" or "severely under-regulated." If a government or citizenry falls for that BS, we/they are either idiots or ideologically complicit in the ruse.

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    1. Debra, you've summed it up nicely. Corporations are not in the business of protecting the public interest. They are in the business of delivering maximum returns to their shareholders, and less regulation helps them do that. Therefore governments must protect the public interest by mandating regulation.

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  2. I agree! Companies are in the business to make money, so given the choice, they'll take the easy/crooked/profit-making road.

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