Richard Wolff on Regulatory Capture

Richard Wolff on Regulatory Capture


I want to begin today with a problem of
the American capitalist system. It is the capture by business of the government
agencies that are supposed to regulate them. The term in economics is called
“regulatory capture,” when an industry or an enterprise that’s supposed to be
supervised and controlled by the government (usually because of past bad
behavior by that industry or enterprise), instead what happens is the company
either bribes, or donates to the campaign of, or finds a way to capture and control
the very regulation that was supposed to control it. It’s a serious problem in the
United States, bad or worse that in most other advanced industrial capitalist
economies. And I want to give you some dimensions of this problem because it is
becoming more, not less, severe under the Trump administration. I’m gonna begin
with random examples. The cosmetics industry. Because cosmetics are something
that people put on their body on their skin, and do so literally every day, it is
something that Europe (and the European Union) has been very concerned
about, what those chemicals that are in those products can do. And therefore over
recent years, in the European Union, they have banned or restricted 1,300
chemicals in the cosmetics industry. By contrast, the United States over the same
period of time has outlawed or curbed eleven. That’s right,
1,300 chemicals limited in Europe. 11 limited here. Think about it. Well, it led
a Connecticut State Senator last year to think about it. [She]’s a doctor but [she] also
serves in the state Senate of that state. [Her] name is Alex Bergstein and [she]
proposed a law in Connecticut that the United States, or at least the state of
Connecticut, would use the same standards in banning
chemicals that are in existence in Europe. Just catch up with the Europeans.
When asked about [her] law [she] said to given the power of the chemical industry
and the power of the cosmetics industry [she] didn’t think [her] bill would likely
pass, but I thought it was an interesting piece of information. Here’s another
place where dyes, that are basically chemicals, are used in the production of
cheese, chocolates, and juice. There, in Europe, a lot of the chemicals are banned
again because they have been found (particularly the chemicals and
artificial colors and preservatives) they are linked to
hyperactivity and children and for that reason they were banned, but not in the
United States. The most widely used herbicide (plant killer) in the United
States is called Atrazine. It has been banned in Europe since 2003 because it
pollutes water supplies. Lead-based paints (you know about them, lead-based
paints), they were banned in much of Europe before the Second World War. But
it took the United States until 1978 to ban lead-based paints in this country.
Why do I talk about this? Well, once upon a time liberals, socialists, and others
look to the government as a way to control, to limit the damage that is done
by enterprises for whom profit is the bottom line and who don’t care
therefore about these other consequences. But the problem is you can’t go that way
anymore because the government has been captured by those it is supposed to
control. It won’t work, that old plan, of giving the power to the government. At
least not until we have very different governments from those that we have had,
and more and more of which we have had in recent decades.

19 thoughts on “Richard Wolff on Regulatory Capture

  1. And this is the same reason that they refused to send the black box from that Boeing plane crash to the US and instead Africa sent it to France to be examined. Because corporations have to much power in every aspect of our lives in this country.

  2. look at big pharma getting the government to mandate vaccines. soon all adults will have to vaccinate or be denied driver's license, passport, library card. big pharma pushing hard for this. only a few problems with this: one size for all vaccines are not safe for everyone–CDC stats say 533 people died in 2018 from receiving a vaccine; proper double blind/inert placebo safety studies have never, ever, been done on vaccines; flu shots have never tested on pregnant women yet are being promoted for pregnant women; you can't sue the vaccine manufacturer if the vaccine harms you, since 1987 when Ronald Reagan relieved all vaccine makers of liability. The facts about vaccine safety are emerging now, despite big pharma and the pharma-controlled media working overtime to prevent this. as a nurse, I urge all of you to investigate before you vaccinate as the truth about vaccine risks have been kept hidden. follow the money.

  3. Dr. Wolff, any ideas đź’ˇ???
    Website listing all chemicals approved by the FDA where consumers can cross-reference their products with that list of chemicals on the website?
    If the FDA approves what goes into the human consumption chain, why are not the ingredients listed on the labels? Proprietary misdirection to avoid “exposing” said chemicals used?

  4. Same thing as civil forfeiture but the police ever see a stack of money or etcetera they're going to steal it you have to prove that they did you have to prove that it's yours

  5. I'm still wondering what happened to that plane. MH370 I want to know why Hillary is not in jail being all the brouhaha around it I want to know why Haiti is still waiting for their charity from the Clinton Foundation you see they just move along we go from disaster to disaster we never have any justice we never promote Justice there for you never expect it

  6. For years in France you could buy all kinds of dangerous chemicals and even insecticides based on ZYKLON -B (to kill Capricorn beetles and the like from munching through the wooden beams in your house.) The French attitude is they warn you that the chemicals are dangerous and improper use may result in chronic illnesses and death. The French figured that if you die from your own stupidity in spite of being warned that's on you / natural selection. More recently EU regulation from Brussels has clamped down on things since then / more regulations that can't be bought. At least in the USA you can see which E-numbers are in food that you don't have to buy but most workers that work with pretty "Iffy" industrial chemicals are not privy to their toxic contents even by OSHA regulations and material data safety sheets. More needs to be done to protect US workers that handle "Seemingly" safe chemicals.

  7. The whole world KNOWS about the USA, except for the population of the USA. At least for a large portion and especially Republican voters. The Democrats are corrupt too, but not like the Republicans. There's a small chance we can turn things around. Get involved. Not by commenting on YouTube. Yes, I just commented, but I do more.

  8. Speaking only about womens' cosmetics (we know lead paint, etc. is toxic), could the EU be too restrictive on banning/restricting 1300 chemicals, whereas only 11 were banned in America?
    If those ~1289 chemicals were toxic to women, wouldn't we have heard about it on the 6:00 news? Maybe the EU is the agency at fault. Maybe the EU banned chemicals used by one manufacturer, but allowed other chemicals used by other manufacturers. Needs more investigation – that Dr. Wolff neglected to do.

  9. hold on a minute. chemcals are good for us. all bans in CEE led to negative interest rates, countries agony, ununployment rates at its peak …. go ahead ban MORE and dsiapear.

  10. In America there is virtually no building code enforcement. Big developers and wealthy landlords establish close financial and political relationships with city and town officials. The emphasis is on handing out new building permits to expand the tax and economic base rather than the health and safety of the building's occupants. The building inspectors are only there to help their wealthy friends.

  11. Should look into the DuPont chemical in Teflon, it's poisoning 99% of the population and was on the Netflix special "The Devil We Know." It's in everything from cookware, clothing in GoreTex and furniture, anything that is a water propellant or a nonstick surface.

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