Agents of change

Industries as agents – not victims – of change

Each industry should itself propose the best ways to demonstrate and regulate Unelected Responsibility – governments and the public will anyway then ensure that they do


It is well-established that people are far more committed to altering their behavior if they feel they are themselves at least partly the originators of the change rather than just its victims. Consequently, in parallel with resolving universal issues such as global taxation mechanisms, the best ideas of how given industries should demonstrate (and regulate) Unelected Responsibility must ideally come from those industries themselves.

In so doing, corporations get a chance to reframe Unelected Responsibility in terms of, for example, Good PR. However, having once come up with such proposals, industries cannot then just expect to be left to regulate themselves in whatever way they choose. Self-regulation is often a popular and comfortable idea – I have just never found that it works particularly well unless it is given a bit of a prod first. There tend to be simply too many vested interests at play.

Instead, the proposals that industries come up with need to include ways by which the success of their proposals will subsequently be measured and policed. And if their ideas are not credible, then governments and the public need to question why. Regulation of capitalist enterprises is rarely best achieved through legislation. But neither does it come from toothless and incestuous self-regulation that can too-readily be wooed away from potentially-embarrassing issues. Ultimately, effective regulation needs access, independence and power.