The use of words seems to be the direction of much of my abstracted thought of late. It is fascinating to my small mind that the connotation of certain words at any point in time take on personalities. Regulate, first recorded in 1620, from the Latin
rēgulātus (past participle of rēgulāre ) according to dictionary.com and its variants is a current example. When we hear the word, deregulation, we hear that something great is happening, or that something catastrophic is occurring. From the early days of the United States there have been debates about what the government should be allowed to regulate. In 1776, the general thought was that there was little the government should be involved in, particularly from a federal view. It was argued that most forms of regulation should be done at the state level and these folks believed “states rights” should almost always preclude federal regulations. Who decides the punishment for murder once we have agreed that taking of life should be regulated? How much latitude does a state have over commerce that does not take place in their state, but the goods must travel through their state? These debates continue and there is a very loud contingent on each side of the debate which gives the word it’s personality.
If you believe that banks are never properly incentivized to do the “right” thing because their primary concern is with profitability, you are likely a big fan of Senator Elizabeth Warren as just one example. If you are a large stakeholder in a bank(s), you probably equate her with evil, socialism, and other pejorative qualities. I have heard many orate on the benefits of deregulation and it’s effect on corporate profits since the current administration took office. I don’t want to get into the weeds of macroeconomic mechanisms because I am not certain I am qualified and, like most things, I am likely far to centrist on the topic to be entertaining.
I think there are regulations that a large percentage of us would agree are good for society. As humans we decided pretty early on that we would not condone the gratuitous killing of another human. We have always held that one’s property should remain as such unless there is an agreed upon transaction between the owner and someone who would like to own that property. So, before we decry or cheer deregulation, we would all be best served by finding out the specifics involved. Some are really good for us and some not, but it is not the word that should be villified.