In one of his essays criticizing inflationary free-silver proposals in the late nineteenth century, the great laissez-faire champion William Graham Sumner wrote:The rest of TGIF is here.
"We hear fierce denunciations of what is called the 'money power.' It is spoken of as mighty, demoniacal, dangerous, and schemes are proposed for mastering it which are futile and ridiculous, if it is what it is said to be. Every one of these schemes only opens chances for money-jobbers and financial wreckers to operate upon brokerages and differences while making legitimate finance hazardous and expensive, thereby adding to the cost of commercial operations. The parasites on the industrial system flourish whenever the system is complicated. Confusion, disorder, irregularity, uncertainty are the conditions of their growth. The surest means to kill them is to make the currency absolutely simple and absolutely sound. Is it not childish for simple, honest people to set up a currency system which is full of subtleties and mysteries, and then to suppose that they, and not the men of craft and guile, will get the profits of it?"
It seems to me that this point is entirely applicable to the current debate over stepped-up financial regulation. In the end, it will best serve the insiders, the “money power.”