A recipe for corruption


State-imposed regulations lead to inefficiency and corruption.

Most people don’t realise this. Rather, they accept the party line that regulations help protect the ordinary citizen. Yet the same ordinary citizen knows full well, often from personal experience, that government is inefficient and corrupt.

This has been most recently demonstrated by the imbroglio with the Pharmacy Board which, like the Medical Board and the Law Association, has been given state authority to limit entry to their profession and extract fees from members on penalty of not being able to earn a living from their expertise.

The main purpose of such regulations is to keep fees and prices high. In the absence of such barriers, more people would offer medical, legal and health services. The argument that the public would not be protected from charlatans is premised on the belief that people are stupid.

On the contrary, in the absence of state guarantees (which are far from reliable) people would be more careful about what professionals they patronise. Private quality assurance organisations would surely be created and/or people would carry out their own checks through word-of-mouth and online searches.

Needless to say, the loudest objectors to removing official regulations would come from the self-same professionals and, since people generally prefer not to be constrained in their actions, this alone reveals that regulations benefit them, not their clients or customers.