We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Licensing laws tend to have particularly harsh consequences on members of minority groups for a couple reasons. First, if a law requires a person to have, say, a college degree to practice the trade of interior design (which is the law in Florida), people who have less money and time to spend in college will find that avenue of opportunity closed to them. Since black and Hispanic Floridians are about 30 percent less likely to have a college degree, they will suffer more from this absurd licensing requirement than others will. Competitor’s Veto laws that forbid a person from practicing a trade unless they get permission from the businesses already operating in that industry are also very likely to create a sort of Old Boys Network, and to exclude entrepreneurs who lack political connections. Second, in a more general sense, any law that restricts economic opportunity for some to benefit others—as licensing laws tend to do—are likely to benefit those who have more political influence and can therefore get the government to regulate in ways favorable to them. Since members of minority groups have less political influence, they tend to be the ones excluded.

Timothy Sandefur

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • RRS

    For those who have followed the studies developed by North, Wallis & Weingast which have led to the “framework” concept of “Open Access” as means of interpreting the extraordinary economic and social advances of the Western (developed) societies & nations, here is an example of regression, back to “Limited Access;” limited to particular coalitions of economic interests.

    When NWW first broached this study in 2006, Martin Wolfe made a comparison to Putin’s Russia as “Limited Access.”

    Western nations are now in regressions toward and into “Limited Access” that result in stagnations of various kinds and degrees.
    Think not? What are most of the edicts of the EU; of the U S Federal Administrative State?

    Despite the claimed benefits of the “Administration of things, not of people,” we find that the “things” all seem to involve relationships of people and administration falls on those relationships and thus on people. Pace, Comte.

  • Twenty or thirty years ago Walter Williams pointed this out in his book “The State versus Blacks”. Valid then and valid now.

  • In a similar vein Uber won a big victory in the Courts in London against the black cabs and their monopolistic antics.

  • Alisa

    Since black and Hispanic Floridians are about 30 percent less likely to have a college degree, they will suffer more from this absurd licensing requirement than others will.

    Well, then it’s just a great incentive for all those black and Hispanic Floridians to join hordes of their white compatriots, taking on a life of servitude trying to repay their student loans – what’s not to like?

  • Paul Marks

    The post is correct (as our the comments).

    For this, and many other reasons, licensing laws are an obscenity.

    F.A. Hayek in his “The Constitution of Liberty” (1960) admitted that he had thought that occupational licensing was relatively harmless – but then read studies in the 1950s (and not just by Milton Friedman) showing how incredibly harmful it was.

    For once economic “studies” did something useful – making obvious just how much harm occupational licensing does.

    It was obvious by 1960 how much harm is done – yet people are still defending licenses and permits in 2015.

    It is hard to think that this is an innocent error.

  • Larry Sheldon

    Licensing is designed to prevent people from doing the thing the license is labeled-for.

  • Fraser Orr

    You know I was thinking about this subject recently in regards to China. In China to start a commercial web site it is necessary to obtain a license from the government, which is called in English an ICP — Internet Content Provider.

    Those of us in the west hold our hands to our mouths in horror at the idea that a web business needs a license from the government. We shake our heads in dismay at the tyranny of those dreadful Chinese.

    Somehow familiarity prevents us from similar hostility to the licensure requirements to run a dry cleaners, or grocery store, or flower shop, or maid service, or taxi pick up service, or hair cutting service, or a birthday cake bakery or just about any other business.

    Me? I’m horrified at it all.

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    I had my poetic licence revoked long ago, but I still try poetry now and then! I’m the world’s first sit-down poet- as soon as I stand up, my friends yell at me to sit down!