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Legislative and other processes that inhibit economic and financial advancement

In theories of competition in economics, a barrier to entry, or an economic barrier to entry, is a fixed cost that must be incurred by a new entrant, regardless of production or sales activities, into a market that incumbents do not have or have not had to incur.

Notable Topics


Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Who First Put Laissez-Faire Principles into Action, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Aug 1997
Biographical essay, covering his life, works and involvement with the Physiocrats, as well as his accomplishments as an administrator
Turgot would abolish the jurandes—guilds—which monopolized various trades. Like modern labor unions, they enforced barriers to entry for the enrichment of members. Consequently, there were few skilled workers, and they concentrated on making luxury goods. Turgot would permit anyone, including foreigners, to enter any trade except barbering and wig-making ... The Parlement supported guilds because ... guilds were a lucrative source of litigation. One notorious case between the guild of tailors and the guild of used-clothes dealers had dragged on for more than 250 years.
Free Markets Aren't Conservative, by Sheldon Richman, Feb 2001
Explains why businesses, especially the larger and well established ones, favor regulations and taxes, and why a free, unregulated or "self-regulating" market protects consumer better
The word "protectionism" is usually restricted to business-supported barriers to cheap imports. But the term has far wider applications. Business interests have long favored all kinds of regulations and taxes to hamper existing and potential competition ... Older and bigger firms can more easily contend with such burdens than newer, smaller, or not-yet-founded ones. IBM and AT&T; have bigger legal and accounting departments than a nascent garage operation. Many ideas for new businesses never get off the ground because the regulatory and tax barriers cripple them.
Related Topics: Business, Capitalism, Free Market
Give America a Raise?, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Feb 2014
Reflects on a remark in the 2014 State of the Union address and explains why legislating a minimum wage tends to harm those it supposedly intends to help
[It] may be difficult to ascertain what a given worker's contribution is, so it's possible that he or she might be paid less than is economically justified. But none of that supports a government mandate. The only way to maximize the market's tendency to accurately reward people for their productivity is to remove all government barriers to competition and self-employment. This includes occupational licensing, land-use restrictions, permitting, intellectual property, and more. Alternatives, not political machinations, are what maximize workers' clout and ensure their just reward.
Individual Rights or Civil Rights?, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Dec 1995
Contrasts the right not to be discriminated against with the right of freedom of association and concludes that one of them is invalid, also discussing private vs. government discrimination
Self-interest and the competitive marketplace will tend to remove obstacles to talent and competence. But the marketplace must be kept free of government interference. That is not usually the case ... By making unskilled (mostly minority) labor artificially expensive, [mininum-wage law] assures that employers won't be tempted to use it in place of skilled union workers. Other regulation of the labor market, such as licensing laws, have similar intentions and effects. Sometimes governments explicitly restrict the economic activities of targeted groups, such as blacks.
Power to the Individual, Not to the State, by Sheldon Richman, 29 Apr 2015
Discusses the various arguments and counter-arguments between progressives and radicals due to the former's movement to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour
Apparently $7.25 is the market rate for much low-skilled labor. But the market is not free. By that I mean the U.S. economy is riddled with deep institutional barriers to advancement for many people, beginning with the government's own schools, which for low-income people are notoriously bad; they handicap kids for life. Then there are the myriad barriers to self-employment and neighborhood enterprises: occupational licensing; land-use rules like zoning; regulations and taxes, which increase the cost of starting and running a business; intellectual property, which threatens imitators with lawsuits; and more.
Related Topics: Government, Minimum Wage Laws
The State Is No Friend of the Worker, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 24 Oct 2014
Discusses how the state interferes with setting wage rates and quotes Thomas Hodgskin on how to reward workers properly
The surest way to eliminate wage discrimination is to keep government from impeding the competitive process with such devices as occupational licensing, permits, minimum product standards, so-called intellectual property, zoning, and other land-use restrictions. All government barriers to self-employment—and these can take implicit forms, such as patents and raising the cost of living through inflation, or burdening entrepreneurs with protectionist regulation—make workers vulnerable to exploitation.
Two Kinds of Income Inequality, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Jan 2015
Differentiates between market (or inherent) and political-economic inequalities and recommends elimination of legislation enforcing the latter, such as intellectual property laws, regulations and licensing
Political-economic systems throughout the world ... are in fact built on deeply rooted and long-established systems of privilege. Favors, which the rest of us must pay for one way or another, typically go to the well-connected ... [P]olitical-economic inequality is unjust and should be eliminated. How? By abolishing all direct and indirect subsidies; artificial scarcities ... These interventions and more protect incumbent firms from conditions that would lower prices to consumers, create self-employment and worker-ownership opportunities, and improve bargaining conditions for wage labor.
Related Topics: Free Market, Government
Washington Logic, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Sep 2006
Comments on the perverted logic used in Washington politics, as evidenced by lobbying for and against import tariffs
Question: would you rather have money in your pocket as a consumer or in the Treasury as a taxpayer? ... [T]ariffs are sought by domestic companies that would like to charge higher-than-market prices but can't because foreign competitors won't let them. The tariff forces those competitors to raise their prices to cover the tax, making the domestic company's price more attractive. Now consumers must pay higher prices than they would have without the tariff. In other words, the beneficiary of the tariff gets something he can't get in peaceful voluntary exchange.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Barriers to entry" as of 18 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.