Occupy the SEC

I will admit that I have been personally dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the splinter group of Occupy Boston that I pass by on the way to the office. Yesterday’s post on Occupy LEGO Land was an example. They lack a message and I personally think most of their message are off base. (Down with Evil Corporations)

One thing that caught my eye was infrastructure. Occupy Boston has a wooden street right down the middle of their tent city. There is a food tent and a legal tent. (There’s probably more examples of physical infrastructure.) That means collective decision-making and an allocation of resources. That means a community has formed from the mob of the 99%.

That collective decision-making can be seen in the General Assembly Meeting that happens every night. There is a participatory democracy, with everyone given a right to speak.

Why not take that model to the regulators? Why not make the Securities and Exchange Commission listen to the comments from everyone?

What’s that?     … They do that?    … Where?

Actually, the SEC allows anyone to submit comments on their proposals.  Take for example the hundreds (thousands?) of comments the SEC received on Definitions Contained in Title VII of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Anyone can submit a comment by sending a letter, using the web, or sending an email.

Will they listen? I assume they read each and every comment letter. The participatory democracy of a few hundred campers on the Greenway does not scale to the complex economy of a few million. Regulators need to choose among competing interests that protect the public, yet give the regulated the guidance they need. Everyone’s voice can still be heard.