The whole topic of licensing as anti-consumer efforts to restrict competition is a long-running one here. Since I am sort-of-kind-of not-blogging right now, I won't excerpt or comment on it a lot, but this is a very interesting piecelooking at internal documents of the American Dietetic Association discussing their efforts to pass laws in various states that essentially ban anyone but their members from giving diet and nutrition advice. It is one such law in North Carolina which required that Steve Cooksey take down all his blog posts about his dieting experiences (since he is not licensed by the state, it is illegal for him to speak on the topic).
The funniest part for me in the ADA materials is that they constantly seem to be put out that their efforts to ban competition from anyone outside of their organization are described by critics as creating a monopoly. Who, us? Monopoly? We are just trying to help customers. Missing in all this, of course, is any evidence of a grass roots effort by nutrition customers. I will remind everyone of this great Milton Friedman quote:
The justification offered is always the same: to protect the consumer. However, the reason is demonstrated by observing who lobbies at the state legislature for the imposition or strengthening of licensure. The lobbyists are invariably representatives of the occupation in question rather than of the customers. True enough, plumbers presumably know better than anyone else what their customers need to be protected against. However, it is hard to regard altruistic concern for their customers as the primary motive behind their determined efforts to get legal power to decide who may be a plumber.