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Morticians, monopolies and manufacturing monks

Industry groups often find competition annoying (and costly) and wish to increase their profits by getting rid of the source of irritation through regulation.  Far from being created to help consumers, most regulations are attempts to restrict competition in their industry.  Various occupation groups seek licensure restrictions, piling requirement upon requirement, and often, some requirements have less to do with how well people who aspire to these occupations do their job and more to do with keeping their numbers down so that they may keep their incomes up.

Back in April and May I wrote a series of three blog posts about local governments restricting competition to favor some producers at the expense of others, all of which harms consumers.  One was on Portland outlawing Groupon.   Another was on how Louisiana seems to be in the lead among states in restricting business and occupational competition through regulations that limit entry into the market by potential sellers.  The third post pointed to an article by John Goodman (the economist, not the actor) who wrote about the “pernicious nature” of occupational licensure, especially in health care.   Also among my previous posts you can find me railing against regultions that have monopolized street vending, taxi cabs and hair braiding

Well, here is another example, a story in the Huffington Post about a court case involving the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and a group of New Orleans area monks who build caskets in their wood working shop to cover their health care needs.  It seems that the funeral directors in the state do not like the annoying competition with the monks, who provide people with low cost caskets.  What do you think?  Be sure to read my previous posts and the John Goodman article before replying.


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