Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The markets of the ancient world were often sewn up by kings and courts and priesthoods. In Egypt or Assyria or Rome, you had to pay off a guild to practice a trade, at least if yours was a common craft, and even ask permission of the sovereign.

Closed entry was the norm, and it certainly contributed to the age’s forbidding pyramid of wealth (which overshadows present One Percenter concerns): Vast hordes of the very poor and the “just scraping by”; tradesmen; slaves to the landed and wealthy; and then the very few rich and powerful. In Europe, this system opened up, in fits and starts, after the fall of Rome, but the basic idea was retained in the policy of mercantilism, against which Anders Chydenius, Adam Smith, and the exponents of laissez faire argued so persuasively. The social advantages of competition for customers and laborers and capital became widely recognized.

And yet free trade never won full sway anywhere.

Cut to today. Dateline: St. Louis, Missouri.

Michael Munie

Michael Munie wanted to go into the moving business, but needed the permission of . . . his competitors.

This, the very opposite of “free enterprise,” is the living embodiment of mercantilist “public-private” collusion, where the state secures existing businesses from “upstart” competitors in what Timothy Sandefur calls “an especially stark example of legislative protectionism.”

So, best wishes to Mr. Munie’s lawsuit, Munie v. Skouby, and the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has helped him bring it. Freedom requires the breaking down of barriers to business entry. Always has. Always will.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Not2Happy says:

    Are you kidding me? This is outrageous. I thought this stuff went out with the foundations of our Constitution. Labor Unions had their day and should be abolished. PERIOD!

  2. Jay says:

    To Not2Happy

    what have unions got to do with this? I didn’t see any referecne to unions.


    The competitors? or the state (or municipality) asking/requiring various for want of a betetr term– permits and inspections.

    The moving business (at least in NY & Florida) is notorious for price gouging; etc. And goods deleivered damaged.

    So, without knowing the details, no comments.

  3. Paul Jacob says:

    This isn’t a union issue per se, it is an issue of the most basic economic freedom.

    Jay — If moving companies are notorious (and I’ve had my own experiences both good and bad), let me suggest that the solution is more competition. Not blocking competition.

  4. Mark Read Pickens says:

    Jay: What possible “details” do we need to know? The entire point of this rule is to benefit some companies at the expense of their potential competitors and consumers.

    Competition is not merely stifled for the oligopoly, but for unions that represent people employed by them. Not2Happy makes a valid point that unions benefit at our expense.

    What you characterize as “gouging” is people charging more for their service than you want to pay. The next time you ask your boss for a raise, I hope you realize you’re gouging your employer.

  5. JohnnyK says:

    As a fifty year union member, I take offense with Not2Happy. My union has allowed me to after working for over 40 years to retire in relitive comfort.

  6. Mark Read Pickens says:

    Johnny K: Are you saying that without belonging to a union, you wouldn’t have been productive in your life? No one would have been willing to pay you for your production? You wouldn’t have been able to save money for retirement?

    Do you think there’s a reason union “market share” (except for government employees) has dropped from about a third when I was a kid to less than 10% now?

    The entire point of labor unions is to benefit themselves at the expense of society at large. If government didn’t prop them up, they wouldn’t survive.

    What protects us from unreasonable employers is the freedom to work for someone else.

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