Sunday, May 3, 2009

Who regulates the regulators?

From an article by James R. Cook about plagiarism (sic) of the work of Theodore Butler on silver comes this paragraph that is one of the most pithy on Government regulation I have ever read. I am visualizing every regulator (or fire marshal or building inspector) I have ever sat down across the desk from - A person barely half my age whose only experience is finding fault while drawing '$15 an hour and all the people you can bully'.

"Ted Butler knows more about silver and the workings of the silver market than anyone on earth. He's proved to be an embarrassment to the regulators at the commodity futures Trading Commission because he knows more than they do. He's got the experience they lack. This is an example of the shortcomings of regulation. Every industry is complex and it takes years to become an expert. That's why regulation fails so often. The government is regulating industries they know very little about compared to those experts who work within the industry. That's why an argument can be made that it's better to have minimal regulation where the citizens look out for themselves rather than expect the government to look out for them. Bernie Madoff would have never got out of the starting gate if individual investors scrutinized him rather than trusting the SEC to do the job."

Thus the origin of my signature block on all my e-mail:
"All jobs are equally easy to the person not doing the work".
I call it Holt's law, although Dave Holt says I am the one who said it to him in the late 1960s, and that he merely quoted it back to me ten years later.

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