Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's the people, stupid. . .

While listening to the radio this morning, something struck me about the way the debate about the financial bail-out is being framed.

The pundits and politicians keep arguing about the merits of regulating vs deregulating the market.

It's not the market or the financial institutions that need regulation. It's the people who operate them.

The argument is often framed in language like 'free markets shouldn't be regulated.' If the financial infrastructure of this country was run by a computer, then maybe I could buy that argument. But the truth is, our 'free market' is run by people. People who are susceptible to greed and fear. More than anything else, greed and fear have been the driving forces behind the collapse of financial institutions and the current mortgage/credit crisis.

Any regulation is there to moderate the influences of greed and fear.

Our founding fathers understood this. That is the very reason our democracy is split into its three branches, each having some check and balance on the other. Our very democracy is regulated and moderated because the individuals who serve are flawed. They are human.

The 'market' is not some outside construct that needs autonomy to do its work. It is an idea, brought to life by individuals, all of whom are at the mercy of their own fear and greed. And while you can't regulate human feelings, you can regulate human actions. Is that not what the web of society does?

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog about writing and the writing process. . .

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