Economics

Entrepreneurs Under Attack

How protectionist laws stifle competition and cripple economic liberty

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Every day, federal, state, and local governments stifle small businesses to privilege well-connected incumbent companies. It's a system of protectionism for influential insiders who don't want competition. Every locality has its share of business moguls who are cozy with politicians. Together, they use the power of government to keep competition down and prices high.

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, works to free entrepreneurs from such opportunity-killing regulations. Here are four cases from IJ's files.

Case No. 1. The monks at St. Joseph Abbey had to take the state of Louisiana to federal court to defend their right to make money selling handmade caskets. That's right: empty wooden boxes. But as soon as the monks started selling them, they were shocked to receive a cease-and-desist order from something called the Louisiana State Board of Funeral Directors. The funeral directors had managed to get their state to pass a law decreeing that only "licensed funeral directors" may sell "funeral merchandise" like caskets. To sell caskets legally, the monks would have to obtain a funeral director's license. That required a year-long apprenticeship, passing a funeral industry test and converting their monastery into a "funeral establishment" by installing embalming equipment, among other things.

The state board and the Louisiana Funeral Directors Association—the profession's lobbyist—say the law is designed to protect consumers. But that's what established businesses always say about absurd regulations they demand. An unusually candid funeral director told The Wall Street Journal, "They're cutting into our profit." Well, yes, free competition does do that. That's the point.

Another funeral director said that the law must remain unchanged because casket-making is a complicated business: "A quarter of America is oversized. I don't even know if the monks know how to make an oversized casket." Does that even deserve a comment?

Case No. 2. Hector Ricketts wants to offer New York City residents an alternative to New York's slow and clumsy public transportation. He employs drivers who offer commuters rides in minivans. The vans serve mostly low-income neighborhoods and typically charge $2 a head. People like the vans. They're more convenient than unionized government-run public transit—and cheaper, too. The subways and buses charge $2.25.

So the city's public transit union used its political connections to regulate the vans to death: The politicians have decreed that vans may not drive routes used by city buses or provide service to a passenger unless it is prearranged by phone; and the vans must keep a passenger manifest on board and enter the name of everyone to be picked up.

"Government makes it easier to get on welfare than to grow my business," Ricketts says.

The fight continues.

Case No. 3. Melony Armstrong of Tupelo, Miss., wanted to expand her African hair-braiding business. But Mississippi bureaucrats told her that to teach workers how to braid she needed a full cosmetology license. That required 1,200 hours of classes. Next, she needed a cosmetology instructor's license—2,000 more hours.

The courses and license had little to do with her profession. They were simply barriers to entry favored by her competition. Fortunately, IJ won that case.

Case No. 4. Dennis Ballen has a bagel shop located far off the main roads in Redmond, Wash. He couldn't afford to advertise on radio or TV, so he paid someone (typically unemployable people with quirky personalities) to stand on the road with a sign directing traffic to his store. It worked. The sign brought him two or three new customers a day.

Then Redmond police slapped him with a cease-and-desist order, warning he could face a year in jail or up to $5,000 in fines if he didn't stop displaying the sign. Ballen estimates that he would lose at least $200 a day in business if he complied. He and IJ sued the city and won the right to employ the sign-holder.

It's great that IJ and some determined entrepreneurs win a few victories for free enterprise. But in a country with a real free market, such lawsuits would be unnecessary.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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  1. Power not only corrupts, the corrupt seek power. If you create a source of power, the corrupt will naturally gravitate to it.

    1. What about the exploitation of workurzz?!

      1. I am very happy to see your article.thank you!

      2. that’s what lawyers are for if they are truly being exploited.

    2. Which is why libertarians rarely seek public office.

    3. Chomsky a REAL libertarian refutes “libertarian” “anarcho”- capitalism

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPUvQZ3rcQ

  2. Obligatory comment about how “entrepreneurs” are just fast food managers and not worthy of my sympathy like real workers, say, social security administrators and economics professors who study market failures and externalities.

    BOOYAH!

  3. “Every day, federal, state, and local governments stifle small businesses to privilege well-connected incumbent companies.”

    I admit that this is often the effect of such provisions. I also admit this is often the motivation behind them, but not always. And, many regulations do have exemptions meant to protect smaller operations.

    However, I always urge my liberal fellows to acknowledge how much of a danger this is. They think big corporations influence the gov and then call for bigger government without seeing the problems inherent in that…

    1. Why do you still cling to this shit? You obviously have a handle on what is going on?

    2. I also admit this is often the motivation behind them, but not always.

      Foreseeable consequences are never unintended.

    3. They think big corporations influence the gov and then call for bigger government without seeing the problems inherent in that…

      They say corporations control the government, and they demand more government to control the corporations that control the government.

      They’re fucked in the head.
      There’s no other way to explain it.
      Fucked in the head.

      Michael Savage says liberalism is a mental disorder.

      I think he’s right.

      1. quoting michael savage is proof of a mental disorder

  4. STEVE SMITH JEALOUS OF GOVERNMENT VICIOUS RAPING OF SMALL BUSINESS.

  5. “designed to protect consumers.”

    Has any casket user ever been injured by the casket?

    1. That’s a grave question.

      1. To answer that, let’s dig a little deeper.

  6. LOL +100 to both jcalton & Aresen.

  7. But as soon as the monks started selling them, they were shocked to receive a cease-and-desist order from something called the Louisiana State Board of Funeral Directors [a Union, by another name][…]

    […]So the city’s public transit union used its political connections to regulate the vans to death[…]

    […]The courses and license had little to do with her profession. They were simply barriers to entry favored by her competition.[…]

    See the pattern? Unions, whether trade or business; protectionist schemes; artificial (i.e. non-market) barriers to entry.

    “Government makes it easier to get on welfare than to grow my business,” Ricketts says.

    The fact is that business attracts rent-seeking leeches like moths to a flame, the government being the asshole that opens the screen door…

  8. John Stossel ONLY focusus on the CORRUPT practice of LARGE Corporations using the Regulatory/Government process to stiffle regulations.

    The TRUTH is that a lot of REGULATION is out there because of the thousands of complaints made to State Attorney Generals concerning FRAUD, Mis-representation, and crookery on the part of businesses (Large/Small).

    1. You will not find a libertarian who supports theft and fraud.

      However you will find plenty of progressive liberal types who support theft and fraud – as long as it is done by the government.

      1. “You’re reading Reason: the magazine that does not advocate the cool crime of robbery.”

    2. The truth is that a lot of regulations were designed by and paid for by LARGE corporations (through politicians) to stiffle the free market and protect profit margins garnered through CORRUPTION.

      The free market system rejects the fradulent and crooked activities of vendors without the influence of the Government by rejecting the product/service, thus eliminating the profit.

    3. Please cite some examples. “Lot” is vague and undefined, and thus makes too much room for you to adjust your implied argument without having actually argued it.

      Can you breakdown for us (just using a selected area of governance) the number of regulations in place that actually protect the consumer vs. those merely make it difficult for someone to enter the market( of course I;’m giving you room here to set the standards)?

      1. Yeah, I’ll start sifting through the the 134,723 pages of federal regulations tonight.

        I’ll have my crack staff start sifting through the 50 states separate regulations, and then have them tackle the local level.

        We’ll bind our report in lambskin parchment, and have it on your desk Monday.

        1. You must be a high school dropout.
          Len asked for “some.” He implied, “name one.”
          But you’re too lazy to find even one.
          Good thing you’ve got the guv to protect you.

    4. The General has a stiffle right now.

      Oh, yer a dude…I fucking hate glam rock.

    5. Why do we need to have regulatory agencies when we have a system of jurisprudence and things like Fraud and Theft are crimes. Shouldn’t those who commit fraud and theft be punished through the courts. Why do we need a middle-man regulatory agency to stand between the victim and justice?

  9. I feel bad that someone clearly regulated the use of hyperlinks – that’s certainly the only reason why Mr. Stossel or his editors didn’t use any in an article ON THE INTERNET.

    1. NYC public transit union thought that the Hyperlink was some new superfast private form of mass transit so they had to regulate.

  10. Perhaps it’s his background as a “journalist” but Stossel has an annoying habit of extrapolating macro complaints from anecdotes.

    1. Don’t you have some old people to mummify? Besides, I think mother is due for a fresh coat of lacquer.

      Or maybe some minorities to “help”…you know cause they are too stupid to help themselves

      Praise be to white jesus, and his name is Tony.

      1. I only listen to real journalists, all of whom reside left-of-center. I don’t expect a fool like yourself to understand the only sources of truth.

    2. Perhaps it’s Tony’s background as a retard, but he has an annoying habit of employing generalizations through the use of irony quotes.

  11. Rerun or not I’m in…

    Anybody else, Fistal Method of Etiquette?

  12. Everyone put on your protective goggles. Make sure there’s no conventional wisdom in them or they’ll shatter right in your eyes!!!!

    1. AIIIIIIIGOHIIWOOOOOOOOOO!

      *lets out primal howard dean scream*

      Menthol? I didn’t know you were from the hood.

  13. Why don’t you just take your precious golf cart, John?

  14. They’re called jitneys, john

    234 local dickfuck

  15. Speak english you fucking ogre.

    He is mass transit and you are a fat fuck.

  16. You’s better not take the dolla vans, if you’s knows what’s good for you’s.

  17. dis friggin guy

  18. I wish that the union guy would take the penis out of his mouth, so that I could understand him better.

  19. Dangerous food peddlers?
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/s…..27_bk.html

    Pedophilia pushers for free internet?
    http://www.fastcompany.com/168…..nk-the-fcc

    1. What’s up new dude…

      On topic please…make fun of the fat fuck union guy.

      1. Personally I was thinking of investing in Union Corporation – the Corporation of Union. By leveraging financial shields and eliminating the need for government to worry about hurting the little guy, Union Corporation has the largest number of government funded contracts for providing morally acceptable capitalism. When it comes to getting things done the right way, Union Corporation gets it done.

        Feel free to give me angel funding for this government/union/corporation of awesome!

        Alternatively, I propose we create a new government body called the “Government Fuckers”. Basically, the government mandates a bunch of dudes with giant cocks who fuck you in the ass until you orgasm. The “Government Fuckers” will help you and your stupid ideals understand the true light of government.

        1. Jesus, Paul. Tune into FoxBiz next Thursday and channel that energy into live blogging with us.

          1. you blogging somewhere? Or is this some kind of wordpress configuration?

            1. Paul(NEO). I don’t know what the fuck a wordpress config is but you are the ONE. By that, I mean you should liveblog stossel w/ us

              1. He moves like they do

  20. Fist, is jitney a pburgh thing?

    1. Exclusively a Pittsburgh thing? I didn’t think so.

  21. I don’t know, Hector sounds like a foreigner.

    1. Yeah but which one? Steve Perry? No Way!

  22. Are you sure it doesn’t just mean transit of many people?

  23. Throw a can of alpo at that fuck, he’ll shut up

  24. Bullshit.

  25. dis friggin guy!

  26. It is an essential service that must be protected by the government, he means.

  27. How about some competition, bitch…that scares you don’t it?

    A service for the poor who need to get to work… RELIABLY.

    1. Unlike public trans.

  28. Fuck yeah, John…Preach it.

    Widely recognized cust service…got a laugh there.

  29. I wonder if the jitney dude is from liberia…he might be my dad.

    1. Do you even have a birth certificate posted on the internets?

      1. I have killed and eaten children without remorse, I have gotten others to do the same for me, and I have done battle butt naked, are you really asking me for a long form birth certificate?

        1. Unless you, like me, look like your family came over on the Mayflower, I guess they’re talking about a law making you wear your birth certificate on your forehead. I heard the president talking about it, I think.

  30. You warm the cockles of my heart older liberian jitney dude.

  31. DIS FRIGGGGIN GUUYYYYYY!!!!

    1. Fuggetaboutit

      That made me feel unclean typing that.

      I don’t know how you do it.

  32. How about in pburgh where the pat goons make more than that, AND the average income is LESS…

  33. I don’t don wanna have no friggin innerupshuns! Or you’ll sleep wit da fishes!!

  34. Mongoloid prom queen=not cool, man

  35. He should do 3 card monte.

  36. Come on, John, just funnel all of your revenue to the state. You’ll be legal.

    1. I tivo’d the show and will be rewinding to get mr. stossel’s routing nos.

  37. Fuck that, I stand on the corner with a pocket full of stones doin business all fucking day long.

  38. YOU CAN’T FILM BUREAUCRATS! Arrest him!

  39. Castration!

    Double Castration!

    1. Double secret castration!

  40. All these laws have saved or created millions of jobs for lawyers.

  41. Never have them “do a story on you”…it always ends bad.

    Fuck it man, you can do a year standing on your head.

  42. They just booed the government.

  43. He fought it(and won), way to go dude.

  44. Sounds like state sponsored monopoly

    Or the inevitable end to the wet dreams of all statists.

  45. We promise not to be too succesful!
    Will you give me a license if I promise to fail?

  46. Will Don Imus be on the panel tonight?

  47. Stossel is all like wait till you get the ‘Stache bump bagel dude…you’ll be swimming in dough* and dodging panties

    Not bagel dough, but money…useless fiat money.

    1. Have you ever had a bagel made of fiat dough? delicious! As long as the people believe it is.

  48. Dennis just got free advertising. Free advertising, that’s something you just can’t buy.

  49. She should be braiding Stossel’s mustache.

    1. That would fucking kill. A bowl of awesome.

    2. Just magical

  50. Arrest her!!!

    For the chilluns.

  51. This is not a revelation to the entrepreneurs that have been fighting this for years. Government regulation in the commercial construction industry has created a dysfunctional system, out of which no change can come without change being legislated. It is an industry where to merely “think outside” your box will result in a loss of your license to do business. As one bureaucrat told me, “hey we are giving you a structure, you don’t want others to think of you as an iconoclast, no one wants to do business with someone who doesn’t play along….” I always thought that was how entrepreneurs succeeded, by approaching things differently. I am sorry but there is some kind of universal will to mediocrity that seems to flow through our society. I am convinced we cannot recover from this. So, does anyone know where the west is still young? Costa Rica? Czech Republic? I am so done, and I want to go.

    1. Brevity’s the name of the game during Stossel hour dude

    2. It is cathartic to make fun of local “bitchtits” 100 mass transit douche.

    1. Wrrouwng!!

  52. J***s F*****g C***t, it’s braiding hair, you assholes.

    1. Jeans Forging Caput?

    2. Johns fucking Hopkins? If so, you totally failed on the last word…jesus shitting christ dude.

  53. Aw fuck, this woman is trying to give people jobs…she wants to hire people with no government money, and they fuck with her, man, I tremble for my country when I don’t believe in a just god.

    1. I hearrrd dat!!

    2. Mom-and-pop businesses don’t hire new workers. Therefore, they are insignificant in My Eyes.

  54. Save that woman from the unlicensed braider!!!!!!

  55. I hope they win that. I would love to make caskets. srsly

    1. I just bury the ANCHORBABIES under my tomater plants.

      1. but..but..who operates the shovel to fill the hole back up? surely that’s anchor baby work

        1. Eunuchs, no anchorbabies there.

  56. The giant stacks of regulations trope is totally owned by stossel.

  57. Over a hundred years? That means they were there first. They should be the ones getting the protectionist regulations.

  58. If my family puts me in an unregulated casket I am going to haunt some motherfuckers.

    1. No way! they’ll start regulating ghosts pretty soon.

  59. That’s fuckin weird to see a monk operating a chop saw

  60. Ha, way to diss the bagelmaker and hair braider.

  61. That combforward would look great braided.

    1. gorgeous

  62. Dude it matters not how you comb your hair, everyone can still tell that you are bald.

    1. And, you look like eminem circa 2001

  63. PYRE!

  64. This guy is slimy and crazy…I am glad he’s on our side.

  65. Boudreaux makes a return appearance. he looks scary insane but he’s great.

    1. Look up, wierd.

      1. I will not look up, and don’t call me weird.

        1. Best rhythm guitarist EVER!!LSD11!

  66. I love boooodrowww

    1. I’m hooked on phonix!

  67. You are a robot, you don’t even care.

    The Abby, oh so yer a cheapskate.

  68. What’s this guy saying about his member?

  69. Is emeinem mng?

    It’s the law, if you don’t like it…

    1. who the fuck is “emeinem”?

      1. The hottest jewish rapper since the Beastie Boys.

  70. WHY IS IT THE LAW????!?!?!?

  71. Thank you creepy necrophiliac union shithead

  72. Transplant, dude you need some hair transplants.

    The stossel coif is probably pretty intimidating to a combovering statist coffin salesman from louisianna.

  73. Noooooooo!

    Audience participation.

  74. DIISSS FRIGGGINNN GOOOUOUOUUUYYYYYYY!!!!!

  75. We are incompetentcompetition.

  76. No it’s a correct statement when you have govt stop competition

  77. I wonder whose name she had tattooed on her arm…

    Fist?

  78. “Yeah, I have a question for the fat fuck: Fuck you, you fat fuck.”

    1. One of these weeks we need to take the liveblog live…

      1. I would get totally wasted.

  79. Send it bitch

  80. Milton freidman is rolling in his grave

    1. And has been since the day he died

      It is a neat trick though.

      1. Was Friedman buried in an approved casket, though? Maybe Obama should have his body exhumed, just to make sure…

  81. YOU ARE AGAINST ENTREPRENEURSHIP!!!! DISSSSSS FFRRRRIIIGGGGIIINNN GGUYYYY!!!!

  82. They should hack your statist ass up for scrap meat.

    Quit saying “working families” you sit on your ass collecting bennies don’t tell me about work, bluto.

  83. “Yeah, I have a follow-up question for the fat fuck: Fuck you, you fat fuck.”

    1. …and furthermore…

      1. dat fat fuk is one fat fuk yer awner!

  84. Oh no he didn’t!

    He pulled the “teh corporations” card.

  85. Ask that union fuck for your stool back, john. Make that bitch pull it out of his ass.

  86. Oh shit, what is the union guy’s email…I wanna send him this thread.

  87. No let the politicians give the benefits please

  88. The politicians have regulations in place forcing you to give them a large portion of your benefit of the doubt.

  89. This. This ginormous stack of regulations that i had the foresight to bring tonight.

  90. You bad girl, you are going to need a spanking.

  91. I probably should have asked this a few weeks ago, but you guys all have your live-blogging licenses up to date, right?

    1. Here comes the 5-0 and I’m out!

    2. Fuck that, I am sitting on my neighbor’s roof butt naked,stealing his internet, and have an AK47 strung across my muscular black back… Let ’em ask for my liscence

      1. How the fuck do you spell licence?

        Is there a way or what?

        1. Who the fuck knows how to spell liscensce just fuckin shooooot mannn b4 it’s 2 late11111!1111111!11uno11

  92. It always sounds reasonable, to morons.

  93. Guilty until proven innocent

  94. The only thing that would be greater than that show would be if Cindy Crysby hit a homer at batting practice.

    1. Pensblog*?

      *Awesome website, full of win.

      1. True story: Pensblog once called me an asshole in one of their posts.

        1. Link?

          1. I was afraid you were going to ask. It was on the old site before they switched, so I’ll have to see if I can dig it up.

            1. How about the backstory, would that be easier?

              1. Well, for some reason, I think it was the summer of 2008, they were trying to continue doing a post a day. The posts were fillers, pretty much about nothing, and I (among others) was “jobbing” them about it in comments.

                Apparently the staff was stressed out about something (I think they were trying to go commercial, with ads and such) and they shutdown commenting for a few weeks and singled me out as being an asshole. It was pretty cool, in a fanboy sort of way. Although I did email back and forth with them with an apology, trying to get them to turn commenting back on.

                Good times, good times.

                1. Aw shit, that ain’t nothin’.

                  I thought you said something nasty about wrastlin’ fans.

              2. Dear penthouse…

    2. i saw that, just wondering whether you saw it on pensblog?

      1. No, PTI had film. Among others.

        1. The only way ESPN covers hockey is if there’s a baseball component.

  95. This is some of the best spam I’ve seen in a long time. Keep it coming guys, this is enthralling.

    1. Did you have your 3-D glasses on?

      ‘Cause if you didn’t, I could see how this would look like spam.

  96. Who’s available to drive to Fist of Douchebag’s house and have him buried alive before he ruins another thread?

    1. Haven’t you ever seen a horror film? If you bury Fist alive, he ruins all threads at once…FOREVERRRRR

  97. Why else would big business pay a fortune for lobbying?

  98. I wish that reason had more articles attacking “corporate welfare” It might make libertarianism more popular with left wing people and show its not just conservatism in disguise.
    A few people were talking to me about an obituary in the guardian about the person who first did mass market package tourism in the UK and how they couldn’t believe that due to BA they initially could only market to teachers and students and for a long time weren’t allowed to undercut BA on their flight routes.

    1. Why would someone want to be popular with left wing people?

      Left wingers are nothing but emotional turds who use the word progress to describe their regression from men who reason with their minds to animals that react with their emotion.

      Left wingers are contemptible scum.

      1. Because Libertarians alone will never be a majority, which is required to shape legislation.

        1. Any compromise with left wingers involves more government and less freedom.

          As Ayn Rand put it “Whenever good and evil compromise, evil always wins.”

          1. yeah, keep telling yourself that, loser

            1. Very persuasive argument.

          2. Rand was a sociopth and her ideal man was a child rapist and killer.She hated democracy because people like you were lice and vermin to her.

            She announced that the world was divided between a small minority of Supermen who are productive and “the naked, twisted, mindless figure of the human Incompetent” who, like the Leninists, try to feed off them. He is “mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned.” It is evil to show kindness to these “lice”: The “only virtue” is “selfishness.”

            She meant it.
            William Hickman, who kidnapped a 12-year-old girl called Marion Parker from her junior high school, raped her, and dismembered her body, which he sent mockingly to the police in pieces. Rand wrote great stretches of praise for him, saying he represented “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. ? Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.” She called him “a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy,” shimmering with “immense, explicit egotism.” Rand had only one regret: “A strong man can eventually trample society under its feet. That boy [Hickman] was not strong enough.”

            Thats your fucking hero.What does that make you?

  99. It still pisses me off when he holds up the little constitution booklet and says “these rules are short and sweet.”

    Dammit! Those are the rules for the government, not you! That’s the document that supposedly gives the government the power to make the reams of laws that you hate so much. Stop holding up the constitution as something sacred, to be revered.

    It’s short because it’s so vague and full of cavernous loopholes. Clear? You think the constitution is clear, John? If it’s clear about anything, the Congress has the power to tax, spend, and regulate. It’s all the things you dislike, and the constitution is the root of it.

    1. Your argument is specious. I live in a country with a very comprehensive Constitution and it is very imprecise, interpretable and overreaching, much more so then the US one.

  100. I’ve got a question for you folks. I’m a structural engineer and was having a debate the other day with a friend about the merits of licenses. I believe that people in my profession should have to be licensed (there is an experience requirement and some testing requirements) because I believe the public is entitled to not have their buildings and bridges fall down due to some developer or the government accepting the lowest bid from someone that is not qualified. However, I do see the lunacy in requiring casket makers to be licensed; am I a hypocrite? Is there a line when some regulation is appropriate? I know the market would take care of the bad eggs eventually, but that could be after some serious damage has been done. Thoughts? I’m too close to this one to be objective.

    1. The problem with licensing is that it tends to be used more as a barrier to competition than anything else.

      I think that private certification programs would be much more honest and flexible, especially if there were more than one in competition with each other.

      1. You mean private certification programs like the rating agencies on Wall Street that performed so well during the last decade?

        1. No. But I can tell from your response that you’re a typical Bush blaming progressive emotional retard who is not capable of intelligent conversation.

          1. Fuck you, he just pointed a giant hole in your proposal

            government did have something to do with it by encouraging the issuing of mortgages, but the hole still stands

            1. I was talking about certifications for professions, not mortgage backed securities.

              All he did was introduce a red herring.

              Get back to braiding the hair on your nutsack, fuckwad.

              1. Bullshit. You proposed private certification/licensing and he countered with a very good example of how that can fail miserably because of the self-interested nature of the businesses getting the certification and the need of the certification agency to stay in business (by “certifying” all their clients so they can keep being asked to do the service).

                1. In other words, even though there’s no incentive structure for government agents to do well, othger than possible lawsuits if they act unethically, that still may lead to better results than the systems private certification systems would create because of their perverse incentives.

                  1. Private certifications offer this silly thing called choice.
                    Government is the opposite of choice.

                    A private certification agency would have incentive to only certify those who deserve it, or people would choose to use a different agency.

                    When the government hands out licenses it is more often than not a result of those with political connections wanting to use the law to stifle competition.

                    1. “A private certification agency would have incentive to only certify those who deserve it, or people would choose to use a different agency”

                      But they also have an incentive to allow most of their clients to get ceritified. Nobody is going to pay for a certification service if they don’t think they’re likely to get it.
                      Furthermore, when bad things do happen under the direction of a certified person/agency, the affect on their business and the certification company’s business will be short term. Whatever disaster will be in the news for a while, and the certification company will take a hit, but then they’ll try to point fingers, and they’ll say they;ve changed their rules. In the long run nothing will change that much and people will forget. Most people aren’t nerdy enough to actually look up in detail a certification company’s tests/rules.

                      Maybe government agents with no incentives is better than private companies with perverse incentives

                      “When the government hands out licenses it is more often than not a result of those with political connections wanting to use the law to stifle competition.”

                      Bullshit? Says who? So Stossel found some bad examples, so what? That doesn’t mean the whole thing should be scrapped. I can find plenty of examples of capitalism working badly, that doesn’t mean I’m going to say we should get rid of it.

                      Any power that can be used well can also be used in a corrupt manner, courts included. Legislation, like licensing laws, have a lot of advantages over courts, given the typical set of libertarian goals/ideals.

                    2. “But they also have an incentive to allow most of their clients to get ceritified.”

                      If their certification is meaningless, like your liberal arts degree, then what good is it?

                      “Bullshit? Says who? So Stossel found some bad examples, so what?”

                      I’m sure that other examples abound.
                      In my work I deal directly with the federal government, and I’ve never met a bunch of more incompetent fuckwads in my entire life.
                      Government is where people who cannot produce anything of value end up, because it is the only job they can keep.

                    3. Rating agencies also offered choice. The result was that banks would go out and shop for the best rating.
                      The rating agencies ended up giving good ratings to junk just to stay in business because if they didn’t, one of their competitors would.

                2. If you read Adam’s post you would have seen that the original topic was license for people.
                  peter peckereater was talking about rating things, not people.
                  Not the same thing.

                  1. Bullshit

                    they’re all part of the same concept. Certification, licensing, etc.

                    1. Here is the problem with the way our economy works today and why these private certifications don’t work because it all stems from the same issue. Private certifications work only as far as they are trusted. When the certifications lose trust then a new board has to be created or else changes have to be made. This did happen with the private certifications on Wall Street but instead of being revamped, the government reacted by sticking all sorts of new regulations on them. So they will only change as far as they have to in order to meet regulations. Is it harder to change private certifications or government regulations? I am not sure but either way, the private certifications firm or whoever is doing it wasn’t given the opportunity to make their own changes. People trust the regulations, and not the certifications, to protect them but there are never enough resources to truly regulate anything. So businesses will continue on with their bad practices and crookery with government blessing.

    2. You do have a point about utility of licenses for some activities. It seems to me the line should be safety.

      Civil engineering would therefore need a license. Coffins? Not so much.

    3. I guess when there’s a public safety issue?

      one problem is the experience requirements, sometimes they’re there when they shouldn’t be, or they’re too great. Plumbing and being an electrician is diverse enough and can throw enough new problems at you outside of what could be covered in classes and tests that an experience requirement makes sense. But a barber? Please. You just need to be able to identify a few hair- and skin- based diseases/pests.

      The public safety thing doesn’t seem very objective, but nothing actually is (that objective). In the end you just need to be reasonable. Only libertarians pretend not to be able to exercise judgement on a case-by-case basis. They have to act stupid to defend stupid.
      Clearly licensing for coffin makers or florists is silly. Most people can see that straight up and don’t need a supposed “objective standard” to realize that.

      1. Thanks for the responses. In school we always heard about the code of Hammurabi, where essentially if you build something and it collapes and kills someone, you get put to death. This would certainly discourage unqualified personnel, but in today’s climate it seems there needs to be some other barrier to entry other than fear for one’s life.

        On a side note, my barber had me convinced that non-barbers shouldn’t be able to give straight razor shaves, but I think I have changed my mind. It would make me feel better to receive a shave from a licensed barber, but I should be able to proceed at my own risk with a non-licensed cosmotologist if I want.

      2. “Only libertarians pretend not to be able to exercise judgement on a case-by-case basis. They have to act stupid to defend stupid.”

        Libertarian have principles.

        That’s something lefttards like you simply cannot understand.

        1. deliberately being a dumb fuckwad isn’t a principle

          and I’m not a lefty, you dumb, predictablem, assuming prick

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