Regulation's efficacy and methods are not a mystery buried in some ancient tomb. It consists of little more than channeling people’s most utilitarian behaviors. Regulators can basically choose to punish, award, or charge the actors in the marketplace to reach their regulatory objectives. Rather than regulate under the assumption that every market actor will try to please the regulators by behaving obediently and with a conscience, most people choose to believe punishment and proper enforcement are more expedient.
While I am not attempting sanctimonious irony here, human beings know what the right things are to do rather than actually doing the right things. We know enforcement mechanisms are the foundation to an effective regulatory agency, we just can’t stop promulgating lengthy rules while at the same time collectively ignoring how to make sure those rules are adhered to. And such problems are even more serious in the financial regulatory perimeter. More complicated, lengthy, and annoying regulations usually mean we are now facing a “regulatory malfunction” problem. The Dodd-Frank Act itself is at least a voluminous 800 pages (the pages vary in quantity depending on what version you choose), let alone the pages of rules that all the financial regulators in the United Stated are required to propose under this Wall Street Financial Reform Bill.