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Rufus Polson

Well, I think you're letting off the unregulated a bit too easily. The current financial sector meltdown is also all about unregulated businesses who, free to come up with riskier and riskier ways to try to make higher and higher profits, did so in spades and are now twisting in the breeze as inevitably some of those risks materialized. The world economy may literally go into a depression because of deregulation.

As to Enron--the untold story of Enron is that, sure, the top guys were crooks in the sense of embezzling from their own company, but that was just an extension of their broader crooked practices which victimized the consumer. The latter were and are quite common. Everywhere you find unregulated businesses, you find victimized consumers, whether it's in energy, finance, the chemical industry--or software. Why do you think businesses started being regulated in the first place? It's because citizens got sick and tired of being scammed and fleeced and insisted their elected representatives make some rules saying "no scamming, no fleecing". Why do you think many of those regulations were removed? Because businesses wishing to make more money paid those elected representatives to ignore the citizens.

Given that, while I think your analogy very apt, I think the notion of there being some sort of natural, appropriate balance between regulated and unregulated is quite wrong.

Todd Barr

Great points, Rufus - but I don't necessarily agree. I'm a fan of free markets in principle (and better enforcement of laws on the books). Not to say that all regulation is bad - I just think it's a leap to say that deregulation is the the potential cause of the economic condition we are in. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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