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It seems to me that the industries that trend to the most unethical (airlines, commercial real estate, cell phone carriers) also have the highest barriers to entry. Unfortunately, this only leaves cumbersome instruments like government regulation and unpredictable changes in the marketplace to impose ethics on industries that appear most likely to trend unethical.



Government regulation is what creates most barriers to entry. In general, the most unethical industries and professions are those that are most tied in to government in the first place. Especially where government provides the barriers to entry - professional and occupational licensing being just the tip of the iceberg.


"Government regulation is what creates most barriers to entry."

Maybe the government regulation as practised by cronyist goverments. Seriously, I don't think that a hypothetical government enforcing standards for square feet measurement would create a huge barrier to entry into the property business.


As soon as there's a law about how to calculate square footage there will either be an agency to do the calculate the square footage, an agency to enforce it, or both. Oh, and some sort of tax/fee levied against commercial land-lords and the possibility of lawsuits all around. And that's assuming that the law doesn't require auditing and/or some sort of compliance documentation. I don't think you're really allowing for how onerous even "simple" regulation can be when lawyers and bureaucrats get ahold of it.


Weights and measures are already regulated in the U.S. This is why, when you pay for a gallon of gas, you can be sure you are getting an actual, standard gallon of gasoline. This in itself doesn't seem to create a barrier to entry for gas stations and protects the consumer.


It seems to me that you can't be sure unless someone is auditing the weights or measures actually in use. Consumers can do a rough audit using their gas gauges, but it's not particularly precise.


In the US at least the state DOT's do go out and check on the pumps and check both that they are calibrated for liquid measure and that the gasoline falls within the acceptable temperature range (because warmer gasoline occupies a greater volume).


As soon as there's a law about how to calculate square footage there will either be an agency to do the calculate the square footage, an agency to enforce it, or both. Oh, and some sort of tax/fee levied against commercial land-lords and the possibility of lawsuits all around

You'd prefer it to be legal if your gallon of gas only actually contained 3/4 of a gallon?


One little thing like this isn't a huge barrier to entry, but a hundred little things like this make a whopper of a barrier to entry.


The "little things" involved in setting up a restaurant are in totality encyclopedic, and yet mom-and-pop teams start restaurants every day in the US.


if you worry about what laws you might be breaking every time you want to do something, you'll never get anywhere. i suspect that most new restaurants are in violation of dozens if not hundreds of laws, but in reality they either aren't enforced or the owners are given an opportunity to fix whatever is wrong without penalty. follow the laws you know, don't go looking for ones you might be breaking, and when the government tells you that you're breaking a law remind them how many people you're employing.


You're probably right in some sense, but there are many laws --- liquor licensing, health inspection, and employment, in particular --- that are actively enforced and a day-to-day reality for restauranteurs.


The money in commercial real estate is in larger projects.

Govt gets more involved as the amount of money goes up.

The NYC govt doesn't much care about a small deli. It gets seriously involved if you're developing a whole block, or trying to build a wal mart.


You are reading it backwards. What I wrote is (rearranged for those with weak comprehension):

"Most barriers to entry are created by government regulation."

I did not say:

"Most government regulation creates barriers to entry."


From what I hear, commercial real estate is actually fairly easy to get into if you have the capital required--a lot for a person, but small compared to many other lines of business. One sufficiently intelligent person can certainly do it (I know one).

But I think it suffers a different kind of barrier to entry. It's an unsexy line of business, and for people who want to own property it has to compete with mindshare for the far more familiar field of residential property management. So you don't see the average Joe thinking he can buy an office building and make it profitable--what does Joe know about office buildings, compared to houses and apartments?


Oligopolies, which are dependent on a limited number of competitors, are ripe for corruption, collusion, and cooperative behavior. This is pretty much exactly why the US has antitrust law. Its history is an interesting read on wikipedia if you have the time.


In exactly what sense is commercial real estate an oligopoly?!




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