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.



3 Responses to Occupy the SEC

  1. William Carleton October 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Doug, you make a fair point. I can recall shocking myself once or twice by how easy it is to participate in the rulemaking process . . . or kicking myself for not directing my (in my mind) well considered opinions to the right place in a timely way.

    By the way, I love the new design of the site.

  2. occupy the SEC January 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    We actually are creating a public comment letter to the SEC, Fed, FDIC and OCC on the Volcker Rule. We’re based in NYC and part of the NYC General Assembly.

    You can read our critique of Volcker’s repo exemption here:

    We’ve had one meeting with the SEC so far.


  1. Occupy the SEC | Compliance Building - February 15, 2012

    […] jest, I wrote that we should occupy the SEC, but noted that they are very open to comments and influence by the public. One of the comments to […]