Regulatory Capture Avoidance

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Regulatory Capture

The first part of this answer lies in allowing donations to political parties to come only from individual citizens.  This means corporations looking to lobby cannot so easily bribe a party with the essential media support they need.  Further legislation needs to be added such that if they want to support or attack a party directly in the media, they have to do so with their own money and state publicly who paid for the campaign.

The longer term answer lies in not regulating particular industries so closely, but regulating all commercial organizations for compliance with legal safety, environmental and sustainability standards.  These standards must be expressed clearly and simply to change the job of the ombudsman from interpreting law to applying the standard rules to the facts of each case.  Breaking these standards must carry escalating penalties such that each successive offence results in an exponential increase in punishment.  Legal non-compliance cannot then become a cost of operation; it will eventually claim the entire organization in punitive damages.  Money claimed in this way is to be used to fund the programs associated with the standards the company was breaking.  The program would be regularly funded by a levy placed on the industry with individual organizations paying their share based on annual revenue from the previous year.

These standards should be widely known and distributed with an Ombudsman appointed as required for different industries.  The job of the ombudsman is then to strictly apply the standard to the company’s actions.  If a breach is noted, then the case is handed over to the legal system for resolution.  Lesser penalties should apply if the company admits guilt; the risk of challenging and lengthy law suits is then that far higher penalties will apply.  As a second line of attack, any person can require the ombudsman to investigate a claim of breach, such that companies can use the system to keep each other within standards.  As a third measure to avoid regulatory capture, the staff of the ombudsman office must be changed on a staggered, but regular, basis between monitoring different industries.  This means they become experts at applying clear rules to facts, rather than needing to be industry experts.

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