Watchdogs (Update)

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Excerpt from chapter 44. Regulations and Self-Regulation:


Apart from fuzzifying (corporate) law, a second-tier control will also be required to control corporate activity – the corporate watchdog authorities. In essence these already exist today but because they just ‘watch’ are tethered on too-short legal chains, and provided with too few teeth to give them any meaningful purpose apart from barking. A recent example of this was when one of the banks in our Australian banking oligopoly raised lending interest rates because … they could. The corporate regulators could not stop this or even protest in any legal way, so our fearless Prime Minister stepped in and declared that we, the public, ‘… have every right to be furious.’ (178).

I must have missed something here; what does ‘getting furious’ achieve again? The news headline was, ‘Rudd savages Commonwealth over rate rise.’ He didn’t have his teeth in, but he sure gave them a vicious gumming.

Apart from working up some pointless fury, there is really nothing the public can do about that. We are advised by the government to just change banks, but they are allowed impose such high exit penalties to make that option meaningless. The banking oligopoly reigns supreme.

Corporate watchdogs must be upgraded to become guard-dogs and have sharp teeth and much longer chains to really be effective; otherwise they are just a waste of taxpayers’ money. As soon as corporate law adopts a more fuzzy character, the chain is automatically lengthened. The watchdog must also have sufficient resources to quickly launch investigations, issue warnings and facilitate prosecutions. Because of the trans-national spread of many corporations the world’s watchdogs must also be globally linked with the ability to pursue and transfer investigation jurisdictions worldwide. That would give them the respectable teeth they need.


178. ABC. Rudd savages Commonwealth over rate rise. ABC News report, Posted Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:21pm AEST, Updated Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:57pm AEST. [Online] 12 Jun 2009. [Cited: 18 Jan 2010.]

Update 19th Dec. 2010:

In his ‘Competitive and Sustainable Banking System‘ document, Australia’s federal treasurer, Wayne Swan announced among many other proposals, measures to make it easier for people to change mortgage lenders by making exit fees illegal. This cuts away some of the monopolising power of banks, while giving smaller lenders a chance to widen competition. It is a step in the right direction.

The first edition of BUILDING WORLD PEACE will accommodate these and other unfolding developments.

  1. Greetings Albert. You commented on my blog over at Facebook so I thought I’d come over here and take a look. Very good. I wish I could help with your publishing efforts but am having the same problem myself, only in fiction. My fiction has had to overcome the hurdle of solving problems with nonviolence as opposed to violence. How does one dramatize the nonviolent showdown? I believe I have solved it, but convincing editors is another matter. Like you I grew up in the cold war and I bought into all the lingo even to the point of going into the US Army for two stints. (Germany and Stateside, not Vietnam thank God). It was not until years later, in Nicaragua, that I was struck by the truth of nonviolence and the possibilities it brings for building community and re-building the world. I am happy to say my wife and I are still living this possibility after these many years. As A.J. Muste once said, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

    I do hope this finds you all well and I wish you great success with your manuscript and with getting the word out. Merry Christmas.


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