Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

Unions have been replaced by guilds: this is not a step forwards.

9 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. Your defence of special privilege for and state licensing of medics is, surely, indefensible.

  2. Well indeed. As a qualified former electrician who is now legally prevented from changing a socket in my own kitchen, this is one of my hobby-horses.

    But the error you make is the “licensing for doctors” thing. It was the maintenance of some of the mediaeval guilds- the ones for members of a certain higher class- which we call “professions” which stands as the justification for general guildery. If you need the State to license a doctor, then why not an electrician? If lawyers must be a guild, why not plumbers? You don’t want just anyone doing that dangerous wiring or piping explosive gases around, do you? Same argument leads to same solution.

    You can’t have it both ways. Sorry. You’ve ended up just saying, “guilds for nobs, but not for plebs”.

  3. “If lawyers must be a guild, why not plumbers? You don’t want just anyone doing that dangerous wiring or piping explosive gases around, do you?”

    Indeed, and having lived in a house where the plumbers did do unlicensed gas work, and the house filled with gas, and the entire street was evacuated, and but for the grace of God dozens would have died, I am pretty sure I don’t want ordinary plumbers piping gas about without some pretty stringent filtering out of the monkeys.

    And just before you pipe in (har har) saying that a libertarian solution is that anyone can pipe gas, I’ll get my counter in first and say that my life being put at serious risk by monkeys doing gas work is serious (actuarial) harm and something a libertarian does care about.

  4. Well there you go. And you don’t want unlicensed hairdressers, do you? They might cut your ear off. Or be paedophiles.

    Was the leak because the plumbers were unlicensed, or because they did a specifically bad job, or just one of those things? I moved into a flat once, and met the electricians doing the rewiring, and chatted to them a while. NICEIC registered, the boss did some teaching at a college. He complained mightily about how proper electricians like him were losing work to all these cheap foreigners.

    When I moved in, I found the wiring to be so badly done, I actually took photos of it and took them into work for everyone to laugh at. There are monkeys in guilds too, Kay. (Okay, the NIC wasn’t an official state-backed guild then, just a professional association; nonetheless it purported to check its members, maintain a standard and be a safeguard against cowboys).

    And, I’ve known a lot of good fitters forced out of the market by CORGI. Qualifying under CORGI- an ongoing cost- is extremely expensive. Unless you do a particular type of work a lot- e.g. fitting cookers (which has its own specific course, as do all the myriad subdivisions of gas fitting), it’s not worth the money to get CORGIed. The result is a severely restricted market.

    And that is what guilds are for, Kay. Always have been, always will be. They aren’t there to protect you. They’re there to protect themselves.

  5. I’ve got a 48V ground fault on my cooker (neutral to earth) measured with my multimeter. I’ll need to get a bloke in to rewire the whole fucking joint. Is he union? Hell, no. But he’s good. And that’s why he’s busy.

  6. “It’s for the US economy, but the situation here in the UK is similar, and it’s drawn from this paper.”

    The trend is similar but we haven’t gone anywhere near as crazy with licensing as the Americans. There was an article in the Economist a few weeks ago which stated:

    “In the 1950s, when organisation man ruled, fewer than 5% of American workers needed licences. Today, after three decades of deregulation, the figure is almost 30%. Add to that people who are preparing to obtain a licence or whose jobs involve some form of certification and the share is 38%. Other rich countries impose far fewer fetters than the land of the free. In Britain only 13% of workers need licences (though that has doubled in 12 years). “

    Which seems plausible.

  7. Oh, and anyone wondering just how much shit our current government has for brains, read this-


    “Proposed reforms to the English apprenticeship system have been inspired by “a mix of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with just a bit of Vaughan Williams to add an English flavour”, according to the minister responsible.

    John Hayes, the skills minister, cited Richard Wagner’s opera, in which the drama takes place in and around a guild of poets and musicians in the 16th century. He said the guild system was at the “heart of my thinking”.

    That’s right. Government economic policy based on a fucking opera.

  8. Was the leak because the plumbers were unlicensed, or because they did a specifically bad job

    Both! The plumbers weren’t gas fitters, and thought that sealing a gas pipe could be done with plumbing tape 🙁

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