Dodd-Frank’s Long-​Distance Paper Chase

Writ­ing in the Fin­an­cial Times, Gil­lian Tett laments the fact that the Dodd-​Frank bill now runs to 2,600 pages and that this is but the peak of a paper mountain:

— since then, law­makers have decided that they will need to make some 243 new rules to turn that bill into law, and con­duct 65 stud­ies. That has neces­sit­ated the form­a­tion of 100-​odd com­mit­tees, each of which is now spew­ing out con­sulta­tion doc­u­ments, which typ­ic­ally run to sev­eral hun­dred pages. Those con­sulta­tion doc­u­ments, in turn, gen­erate end­less private sec­tor legal memos. And the agen­cies are receiv­ing more “feed­back”.

Undeni­able was developed so that organ­iz­a­tions could escape the mode of purely being react­ive to spe­cific pieces of legis­la­tion, focus on identi­fying the con­sol­id­ated require­ments of all legis­la­tion and reg­u­la­tion, and develop prac­tical solu­tions to that con­sol­id­ated require­ment. In doing so, organ­iz­a­tions tend to imple­ment last­ing solu­tions and cap­ture con­sid­er­able cost savings.

Though the late Steve Jobs was allud­ing to solv­ing tech­no­lo­gical conun­drums, his com­ment, repor­ted by Steven Levy in his book ‘Insanely Great’, is highly pertinent:

When you start look­ing at a prob­lem and it seems really simple, you don’t really under­stand the com­plexity of the prob­lem. Then you get into the prob­lem, and you see that it’s really com­plic­ated, and you come up with all these con­vo­luted solu­tions. That’s sort of the middle, and that’s where most people stop…. But the really great per­son will keep on going and find the key, the under­lying prin­ciple of the prob­lem – and come up with an eleg­ant, really beau­tiful solu­tion that works.*

There is no reason why you can­not find eleg­ant and beau­tiful solu­tions to reg­u­latory prob­lems. It just takes time and focus.