No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

New Video – Free to Design: Florida Entrepreneurs Take On the Interior Design Cartel

New video about the lawsuit challenging Florida’s anticompetitive interior design law.

The Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily explains the growth of red tape and licensing laws which have led to an explosion of governmental controls on occupations that were never regulated before. Legislation has always been abused as a weapon to suppress competition, starting with attempting to prevent African Americans from getting a leg up, to now restricting many other people from working in the fields of their choice. It’s an ugly history that has been continued now as a tool of special interest groups who want to exclude others.

In fact, as David Harrington of Kenyon College explains, this sort of legislation is also most likely to exclude minorities and midcareer job changers. See “Designed to Exclude” for more information on this.

Can you say “discrimination”? And “antithesis of the American Dream”? Sure, I knew you could.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Video – Free to Design: Florida Entre…“, posted with vodpod

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Florida, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Designed to Exclude Minorities and Career-Changers & Increase Consumer Costs

A new study by economics professors David E. Harrington and Jaret Treber of Kenyon College entitled “Designed to Exclude: How Interior Design Insiders Use Government Power to Exclude Minorities & Burden Consumers” reveals some shocking information.

Not only is interior design legislation anticompetitive in general, but it specifically disproportionately excludes blacks, Hispanics, and midlife career-changers.

Yes, these laws are inherently discriminatory against minorities and older people.

Since minorities are 30% less likely to have college degrees than whites, they are also that much more likely to be shut out of the field.  Likewise, older designers are 12% less likely to have degrees in regulated states, so they too are more likely to be prevented from starting an interior design career later in life.

Such legislation has also been shown to result in significantly higher prices for consumers, as the lower-priced competition is simply legislated out of existence.  Design firms in regulated states have been shown to earn as much as $7,200,000 more in cities of 1,000,000 that in similarly sized cities in states that do not regulate the practice of interior design.

Which is pretty much what we’ve said all along – that the goal of such legislation is to shut out the competition, and will result in increased prices for consumers – and not-so-coincidentally, considerably higher salaries for the few who can meet the requirements – or who are allowed to.

Which is certainly nice work if you can get it, and I’ve got nothing against people earning more money if they are capable of doing so honestly, but shutting out competition by legislating it out of existence, particularly when that legislation clearly discriminates disproportionately against minorities and mid-life career changers, and that there is no valid and documentable other reason is just plain abuse of the legislative system.

Good old supply and demand economics dictates that if you decrease the supply of providers, and the demand for services remains the same, then the prices are just going to go up – which is bad news for most consumers, particularly in this recessionary economy.

Because of the effects of grandfathering, the apparent effects on wages are also likely diluted and thereby understated.  Having a degree also correlates positively with higher wages, at the expense of experience.  This means that even designers with little or no experience but who do have a degree in design could command higher fees than those who actually have the practical experience required to really excel in this field!  In unregulated states, experience counts for more than it does in regulated states, and formal schooling for less.

The costs to entrepreneurs is likewise dramatically higher in regulated states than in those that do not control the practice of interior design.

Furthermore, this study also documents the problematic effects (and attendant costs) of the loss of variety of points of view and styles, and limitations on consumer choice that regulation brings.  Given the diversity of the population as a whole, especially across racial and ethnic lines, and the accompanying range of preferences, it’s important to ensure that designers who cater to unusual and different tastes will be around to serve these groups.

Regulation, as it turns out, also encourages designers to cater more to the tastes of the masses than to different niches, which can only result in a loss of variety and richness in options and spaces.  In a field that is supposed to be all about creativity and options, it would be a tragedy to so restrict the range of options that are available to consumers who are not interested in the status quo.  Uniformity is not an asset in a creative field.

Sadly, this sort of limitation could easily expand if the schools become set up as the sole arbiters of taste and style, which a system of mandatory regulation only encourages.

I saw it myself in my own design school training – we were not only not encouraged to develop our own individual styles, but we were actually penalized if what we produced differed too much from what the instructors’ and the institutions’ tastes and styles were.  The result can be an absolute crushing of a student’s own inherent taste and style, and stifling of creativity, failure to teach how to build on what’s working or to develop any different ideas, etc.  I had to fight hard to break away from that stifling little box and to put it in its place as just another tool I can now draw on now, instead of letting it turn into the sole dictator of what is right and correct, or appealing.  I learned a lot of value in design school – but encouragement and development of my own creativity and ideas was certainly not part of their agenda, and not part of the skill set it helped me develop.  The net result is that design (and architecture) schools tend to crank out students whose work all bears a striking similarity to the work of all other students.  The schools each have their own “look”, and heaven help the student who wants to do anything else.

Please read this excellent study, which draws its conclusions from reputable and readily available data sources, specifically the National Census, obituaries, and others, and from rigorous statistical analysis of the data.


September 1, 2009 Posted by | Institute for Justice, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CT Law Ruled Unconstitutional!

The Institute for Justice has scored another victory in our Campaign for Economic Liberty, our multi-year effort to elevate economic liberty to national prominence like we did with the issues of school choice and eminent domain abuse.


In this lawsuit, we challenged a Connecticut state law that allows anyone to perform interior design services, but dictates that only those with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers.” Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws” like Connecticut’s serve as precursors to full-blown occupational licensure (the ultimate goal of a small, well-funded faction within the interior design industry).


IJ’s strategic research has shown such regulations result in higher prices, less variety, and fewer employment opportunities, especially for minorities and older mid-career switchers, without any benefit to public health or safety (the standard by which all such regulations should be judged).

It is these types of occupational regulations that are the target of the Campaign for Economic Liberty and that we will litigate against to restore constitutional protection for the right to earn an honest living.

Below is our news release on yesterday’s court decision. Thank you for making this and all our work possible.

Chip

________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 30, 2009

Federal Judge Declares Connecticut Interior Design Law Unconstitutional

New Haven, Conn.—A federal judge today struck down a state law that unconstitutionally censored the free speech of interior designers in Connecticut.

In a thorough, clearly worded 23-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz systematically considered and rejected each of the state’s arguments in support of the challenged law, a so-called “title act” for interior designers. Title acts are laws that regulate only the speech, but not the work associated with a given occupation. Thus, in Connecticut—as in 46 other states around the country including New York, Massachusetts, and California—anyone may work as an interior with no license or other special government oversight of any kind. But since 1983, Connecticut law has prohibited anyone not registered as an interior designer with the Department of Consumer Protection from referring to himself as an “interior designer,” even when that term accurately describes what he does.

Interior design laws are the product of a decades-long lobbying effort by an elitist group of industry insiders seeking to limit competition by driving other interior designers out of work. That effort, led by the American Society of Interior Designers, is documented in an Institute for Justice study entitled “Designing Cartels.” Another study from IJ called “Designed to Exclude,” released in February 2009, shows that interior design regulations like Connecticut’s not only increase costs for consumers but also disproportionately exclude minorities and older career-switchers from the interior design industry. Both studies are available online: www.ij.org/interiordesign.

“Shortly after I began practicing interior design twenty-five years ago, a woman from the Department of Consumer Protection showed up at my business and ordered me to stop calling myself an interior designer,” said Susan Roberts, one of the three plaintiffs who successfully challenged Connecticut’s interior design law. “That is an outrageous act of censorship on the part of the state, and I am thrilled that I can now tell the world that I am what I have always been since I started doing this work—an interior designer.”

As Judge Kravitz explained in rejecting the state’s legal arguments, “the term ‘interior designer’ is not a term of art and it is not inherently misleading.” Moreover, “[i]f the State were seeking to convey the existence of a regulatory regime in this field, then a term such as ‘licensed interior designer,’ or ‘registered interior designer,’ would far better serve that interest.”

“When it was enacted in 1983, Connecticut’s interior design law represented the cutting edge of a concerted effort to cartelize the interior design industry for the benefit of ASID and its members,” said Clark Neily the Institute for Justice senior attorney who led the successful court challenge. “Along with several grassroots and industry groups, we have brought that campaign to a halt and are systematically dismantling the barriers it has erected to fair competition in the interior design field. We are confident that when the dust settles, consumers in every state will be able to choose the designer whom they think best suits their needs, and interior designers themselves will be free to go as far as their ambition, talent, and dreams will take them.”

This message was sent from Chip Mellor to. It was sent from: Institute for Justice, Institute for Justice 901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

Email Marketing by
iContact - Try It Free!

July 1, 2009 Posted by | California, Connecticut, Institute for Justice, Massachusetts, New York | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment