New Orleans plumbers: Democracy at work

Under another recent post on this blog, me and my one reader have been having a debate about whether the problem of democracy is that there are no protections against a majority oppressing minorities (my view), or that special interest groups promote their interests at the expense of the majority (his view).

Apparently, both views are true. The latest Fortune (vol. 156, no. 4, 2007-08-20) explains part of the problem of reconstruction in New Orleans (p. 71):
One unusual problem: a severe shortage of plumbers. KB learned after it arrived that state law requires plumbers to complete more than four years of training before obtaining a license, and that Louisiana follows different plumbing codes than most other states. That means KB effectively can't bring plumbers from Houston, where it has an extensive contractor network. The company promoted a bill in the Louisiana legislature to loosen the requirements. The state's Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association saw that the bill was killed.
Yay! :) Hip hip hooray for Louisiana plumbers! :)


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