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March 23, 2007

GEORGE WILL ON RENT-SEEKING:

This is done in the name of "professionalization," but it really amounts to cartelization. Persons in the business limit access by others -- competitors -- to full participation in the business.

Being able to control the number of one's competitors, and to dispense the pleasure of status, is nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you have a legislature willing to enact "titling laws." They regulate -- meaning restrict -- the use of job descriptions. Such laws often are precursors of occupational licensing, which usually means a mandatory credentialing process to control entry into a profession with a particular title.

In Nevada, such regulation has arrived. So in Las Vegas, where almost nothing is illegal, it is illegal -- unless you are licensed, or employed by someone licensed -- to move, in the role of an interior designer, any piece of furniture, such as an armoire, that is more than 69 inches tall. A Nevada bureaucrat says that "placement of furniture" is an aspect of "space planning" and therefore is regulated -- restricted to a "registered interior designer."

Read the whole thing. The Institute for Justice has done great work challenging these kinds of restrictions, but it's a case of baling the ocean with a teacup.

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