The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must be given real teeth. In 2011, the New York Times reported that an analysis of SEC enforcement actions over fifteen years found fifty-one cases in which nineteen Wall Street firms had broken antifraud laws. Their punishment amounted to a promise to never to repeat the offensive acts. When the same firms were caught again, they were allowed to get away with a renewed promise to mend their acts. These examples illustrate the extent to which making enforcement effective must be a major part of the drive to keep capitalism from breaking out of the containing capsule, so it can thrive.
Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor and professor of international affairs at The George Washington University. He is the author of many books, including The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics. Image: Reuters