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Comment of the Week:

I'm giving Bored Lawyer the Comment of the Week for explaining Nevada's interior decorator licensing law:

BTW, did anyone else notice that the law on its face would prevent a person from moving their own furniture?

This could be a definite advantage in some circumstances:

Wife: Honey, I want to rearrange our furniture, could you move the couch by the window?

Husband: Sorry, honey, no can do. I don't have an interior decorator's license.

TomHynes (mail):
What if you combined Washington's rules on professionals having sex with clients:

www.volokh.com/posts/1169250598.shtml

with Nevada's rules on professionals moving furniture?

If you get a license so you can move the furniture, you can never have sex with your wife again. Of course, if you don't move the furniture, same result.
3.23.2007 6:00pm
Hattio (mail):
Hey Professor Zywicki,
Since he was quoting my comment, do I get the best supporting commenter nomination?
3.23.2007 6:49pm
Nanook (mail):
Hmm. I agree that licensing of interior decorators is an abuse of lawmaking, is an artificial limitation of the supply of these professionals, and is designed to keep their fees high. But isn't this is the same kind of nefarious "guilding" that has gone on in other professions for generations, like, say the legal profession, medicine, etc? The late great Milton Friedman thought so and felt that ALL professionals should earn their credibility in the marketplace and not from professional credentialing organizations given the imprimatur of law. Make fun of the "furniture movers" all you want, but check your own profession's licensing practices and you'll likely find similar restraints of trade. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
3.24.2007 8:20am
Stacy (mail) (www):
"The late great Milton Friedman thought so and felt that ALL professionals should earn their credibility in the marketplace and not from professional credentialing organizations given the imprimatur of law."

As with a lot of pure libertarian ideas, there are practical problems with that, namely that most of us simply don't and won't have the ability on an individual basis to evaluate the competence of the majority of professionals whose services we need. Word of mouth is helpful, but what if I need heart surgery and don't know anyone local who's had it recently? Or only one person?

Professional credentialing organizations which get their status not from law but from the market success of their credentialed members seem to be an excellent solution in IT and other fields (ABA, ASE etc.) I think the only problem is having the certification required by law. I don't really mind anyone who wants to call themselves a doctor and set up an office, but I certainly won't use their services if they aren't board-certified, etc.
3.24.2007 9:57am
Nanook (mail):
Absolutely, Stacy. I agree. Certify all you want, just don't create laws stipulating that only board certified members can practice a given profession. Let the consumer risk it if they want.
3.24.2007 1:58pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ TomHynes:

If you live in Washington and Nevada at the same time, I'd suggest you have bigger problems.
3.26.2007 1:22pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ Stacy:

I have a very honest mechanic. I was discussing his lack of an ASE Master Tech certification. "I started to get that," he said, "but then I took the air conditioning test."

"Did really badly, huh?" I said.

"Yes and no," he responded. "I got a 40% on the test, but I passed. And I don't know where YOU went to school, but as I recall, 40% can't even SMELL passing."

Which sort of changed my perception of the ASE certifications. Now I'm in limbo. I used to think an ASE certification meant something, so I looked for it. Now it doesn't mean anything, so I'm stuck with this massive information asymmetry and no way to resolve it.

Certifications are supposed to fix something, but the economic incentives for certification agencies just don't line up with fixing the problem. So they frequently don't fix it.
3.26.2007 2:36pm