29 June 2010

Cronyism: it's not new.

the ragbag :: raynor ganan :: monopoly men

i was getting a bro-zilian wax yesterday in preparation for the big brazil v. chee-lay soccer match and reading through tudor-era royal charters when i came across a few interesting deets. apparently, the monarch had the power to grant legal monopolies to a group of her cronies. thus, queen elizabeth could—say—give bill gates an exclusive license for making operating systems or allow mark cuban to be the owner of every basketball team in the nba. here are a few of elizabeth’s buddies and the industry in which she granted them a monopoly:
  • flask making · reynold hexton (15 year grant)
  • transporting shreds of woolen cloth · symon farmer (21 year grant)
  • anniseed importing · robert alexander (21 year grant)
  • buying linen rags · john spilman
  • selling felt hats · [name redacted]
  • transporting ashes and old shoes · ede schets (7 year grant)
  • licensing taverns · sir walter raleigh
No wonder the European economy was stagnant for over a thousand years.

A lot of American states would probably be better off with Walter Raleigh issuing liquor licenses rather than the Liquor Control Boards they actually have now.  At least Raleigh appreciated a good time.

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