Three R’s Revisited

I hate rules and regulations! As a businessman, I was frequently irritated when financial regulators overseeing my financial services business (SEC, Department of Labor, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) required an honest person, such as me, to spend significant time and money complying with regulations when I had no intention of doing anything but serving my clients’ best interests. I am far from perfect, but I understood that fair, responsible behavior was not only the right thing to do but also in my best interest. Too often, I’ve observed law abiding citizens unduly scrutinized and regulated while those who are dishonest or have criminal intent ignore the regulators with impunity.

Now that I’m able to reassess my career, I see the necessity for more onerous regulations than should be necessary. In short, human beings have not evolved to the point that they voluntarily follow the Golden Rule. They don’t understand how interconnected we all are and how harming another harms them. Most people’s view of self-interest is unduly narrow and short sighted. Every country has had its embarrassing examples of corporate fraud and government corruption.

The financial crisis of a few short years ago illustrates the kind of selfish, ignorant attitude that is prevalent to this very day. Recent events show this troubling attitude continuing from the despicable behavior of banking behemoth Wells Fargo to the battles that take place in most countries over pollution regulations. If people acted responsibly by recycling, minimizing waste, and refraining from dumping chemicals and other toxins into the air and water and onto the land, environmental rules and regulations could be relaxed and eventually eliminated. Unfortunately, responsible behavior is often ignored as cost savings and convenience take priority. Neither side looks at what is best for the economy, or society at large; instant gratification has become our unconscious default.

As long as man does not face his own injustice, greed, selfishness, pride and fear all on a deeply hidden psychological levels the same attitudes are bound to continue in the world, regardless of what social reforms are instituted. Pathwork Lecture 133

Until people far and wide look deeply at themselves and make appropriate changes, rules and regulations will be needed despite the detrimental consequences they frequently produce.

David Schwerin

Article reposted from Speaking Tree India

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