Entrepreneurship is essential to economic progress and to upward mobility. But market concentration in the services, retailing, and light manufacturing industries has removed the incentive for small business owners to innovate, compete, and invest in research and development.
Today, the Open Markets Institute joined five law professors and one public interest group in a letter to the National Labor Relations Board criticizing a proposed rule that would make it harder for workers to organize and collectively bargain with franchise businesses.
Successful ideological entrepreneurs change policy-makers’ focus and their presumptions. Those on the right, in particular, have been very effective at shifting attention from core confrontations of capital and labor to peripheral conflicts among laborers. We see this repeatedly in inequality policy, where fundamental tensions between capital and labor are ignored, obfuscated, or trivialized by a tidal wave of technocratic reframing.
Obama-era technocrats and Trump cronies may not agree on much, but they have made common cause against occupational licensing. That focus undermines important social objectives while obscuring far more important problems in the labor market. In this post, we cover the basics of licensing, and then reframe current attacks on it. In our next post, we will explain why licensing’s mix of consumer protection and labor market stabilization is a legitimate policy option for a wide range of occupations.
“Government—federal, state, and local—constructs and structures markets. All markets therefore reflect the political and moral concerns of the sovereign of the state, which in this case is the people of the United States expressing their wishes through an amendment to the Constitution,” writes the Open Markets Institute in its amicus brief in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd. Read the full brief here.