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The Regulation of Regulation

In the 1960’s there was a Hollywood Production code that determined what could be shown on television. The Music Picture Association of America had censors determine what had to be removed from various shows.

Because of TV censorship rules, actress Mariette Hartley was not allowed to show her belly button on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek [episode #78 “All Our Yesterdays” (1969)]. Later, as a way to get back at the censors, Roddenberry got even by casting Hartley with “two” belly buttons in the Science Fiction move Genesis II (1973)

As to financial regulation, let’s look back at October 24, 1929. It is now known as the first day of the great Wall Street Crash of 1929. It is listed in history as Black Thursday.

Congress began to investigate the cause of the crash and amazing instances of fraud, skullduggery (I have always wanted to work that word into a blog!), and downright unscrupulous behavior. That’s when the idea was being floated to create an agency to regulate Wall Street. (In 1934, the Securities Exchange Commission was formed for just that purpose)

As the topic of Wall Street regulation was being debated, there were many against such regulation and oversight. For instance, Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange (1930-1935), was one voice who assured Congress that meddlesome bureaucrats would be bad for the market and bad for business. He told Congress that Wall Street could better police itself.

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 17: A giant panda plays in a rocking chair at Beijing Zoo on May 17, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Maybe he thought that it’s much like this picture. If you give a Panda Bear a rocking chair, he will voluntarily stay in the chair. (Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of a bear in a rocking chair)

If you click on the attachment of Richard Whitney, you can see what can happen with ‘voluntary”. After that self-regulation speech, he went on to steal $150,000 worth of bonds and $667,000 from the Stock Exchange Gratuity Fund, that had been set-up as a fund to aid widows and orphans of brokers.

Just something to think about when you hear politicians talk about why regulation is always bad. Or that it is restrictive and should be abolished. Sometimes, rules are necessary. Plus, no one would watch football if there were no rules… right?

And that takes us to pic o’ day, which is not good advertising:


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