The Securities and Exchange Commission

4 April 2015
A study of the origins and effects of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) set up as a result of the Great Depression.

When the American federal government set up the Securities and Exchange Commission – to reassure investors that they might safely put their money into American companies – after the Great Depression, it accepted its fundamental responsibilities to protect its citizens from at least some of the buffets of historical and economic change. This paper explores both those immediate and long-term effects of the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The SEC has been able to function most effectively when the administration in office shared this basic progressive stance with Roosevelt. It has fared considerably less well during those historical eras when the part in power in the White House has believed in the gods of market forces. Neither Ronald Reagan nor George Bush believe in the same way that FDR did that businesses should be constrained so that they are forced to act morally and for the public good.

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