188.8.131.52 National Economic Regulation
There are domains of control within national economic regulation: local government can regulate, and so can some other organisations.
National governments are responsible for most economic regulation, including health and safety, restrictive practices, environmental and consumer protection. Some powers are delegated to other bodies, though:
● Local government regulates businesses of all sizes: e.g. in terms of trading hours, planning permission and licences to operate.
● Employees are subject to their employer’s regulations.
● Central banks may be formally independent from national governments.
● Financial regulation is patchy in its coverage, because there can be several organisations involved without any unifying framework to allocate terms of reference to them. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, for example, can set regulations for minimum levels of bank reserves but it cannot set rules for how the ratings agencies assess the risk of complex financial products.
National economic regulation tends to be fairly mature: most of the necessary institutions and processes exist. That is not, of course, to say that its implementation in any country is the best framework that could have been devised. Each country arrives at its own shifting balance between political and economic considerations, and no system is immune to malpractice.
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/3411.htm.