The problem is not deregulation or a lack of regulation. Regulation, we must assume, would not have prevented anyone from doing anything, and we know this if only because nothing that anyone on Wall Street did is illegal; at best, regulation would require that someone who was acting as law enforcement act after some specific thing had occurred. (That, in fact, is what's happening now.)
At worst, regulation would demand that every transaction, down to little Jimmy's trading to little Jeanie a water pistol for a ball, be considered a matter needing to be regulated but definitely and still a matter only of ethics. This is what we have now, in the case of Jimmy and Jeanie, with the children's parents stepping in if one of the children needs them to.
The problem is the identities--or, rather, the lack of them--of those who committed the acts that are causing unpleasant situations to exist in the lives of known or able-to-be-known others.
We don't need more laws if we can be assured of knowing whom to trust (and this would include making judgments about corporations based upon the names of corporations' most infamous employees) and whom not to trust. You know: same way a farmer just doesn't do business with the mill that gypped him.
If no crime has been committed by Wall Streeters, newspapers and magazines wouldn't be doing any harm if they created little features on those who've worked on Wall Street. If Wall Streeters are being abused by a nation of yokels, these little features would be more like the NYT's memoriums to all those who died as a result of 9/11 than they would be like hit pieces.
Sep 28 2008 - 10:01am