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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blue Laws

When I saw this article it struck me as a good thing to analyze from the perspective of freedom. The situation is interesting. The laws are extremely old, and unlike some states that simply do not enforce old laws that are completely irrelevant to the times, Massachusetts sees fit to enforce these laws.

It seems to me that if businesses want to be open on a certain day or at a certain time they should be allowed to do so as long as they can fin the staffing to do it. These laws are absurd, and from an economic freedom perspective, they are also a violation. I find it interesting that such laws would be allowed under the constitution of Massachusetts. It seems that it is in direct violation of freedom to give the government so much liberty that they can decide when a store can be open. Why would they interfere with the economic process to such an extent?

I know that present lawmakers did not make the law, but I do wonder why there has been no incentive for them to change it. They receive revenue when stores are open, assuming there is a sales tax in Massachusetts, and there is an overall benefit to economic activity. I think this law is an example of why it is important to limit government involvement in our lives.

I am not saying that there should no government involvement at all in economic processes, but there needs to be a constitutional framework to provide limits for governmental actions. Laws such as these are ridiculous because they limit beneficial economic activity simply because a special interest group desired it. It certainly represents the tyranny of a minority. This is certainly an instance of improper use of government’s coercive power. These laws should be changed, and it would certainly benefit more than just the retailers.

You ask why blue laws aren't repealed. You also make reference to some special interest. Do you suppose blue laws involve rent seeking? If so, would that be an explanation for why blue laws aren't repealed?
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