Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Old 09-17-10, 04:27 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: frass canyon
Posts: 16,249
Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Interesting blogpost: http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/20...cense-to-tour/

essentially, the blogger notices that in DC, if one wants to earn some extra money by giving tours of certain areas of the city, they need to pay $200 to apply to be a licensed tour guide, then have to take a test. And the test is all inclusive. If someone knows everything there is to know about Embassy Row and only wants to give tours along Embassy Row, he still has to make sure he knows about all other areas of the city.

I was really shocked to see the commenters tear him apart.

People really think that the free market is incapable of weeding out incompetent tour guides?
RoyalTea is offline  
Old 09-17-10, 05:59 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
People really think that the free market is incapable of weeding out incompetent tour guides?
I don't know if I'd go so far as to say "incapable," but this does seem like an industry where it would be relatively hard for consumers to get reliable information, and therefore might be a useful place for regulation. The point about neighborhood-by-neighborhood certifications is a good one, though.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-17-10, 06:05 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
arminius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Here I Is!
Posts: 6,968
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

There is nothing in this world that a government bureaucracy can't make better.
arminius is offline  
Old 09-17-10, 09:53 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: frass canyon
Posts: 16,249
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
I don't know if I'd go so far as to say "incapable," but this does seem like an industry where it would be relatively hard for consumers to get reliable information, and therefore might be a useful place for regulation. The point about neighborhood-by-neighborhood certifications is a good one, though.
yeah, google and yelp are "relatively hard" for consumers.

"OH MY GOD!!! I might take a tour of DC and hire a tour guide who doesn't know everything about DC. I NEED GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT ME!!!!!!!!!"
RoyalTea is offline  
Old 09-17-10, 09:56 PM
  #5  
Moderator
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,839
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

The good news? You don't need a license to RAISE A BABY.
Groucho is offline  
Old 09-17-10, 10:48 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
yeah, google and yelp are "relatively hard" for consumers.
Use google to find me three good D.C. tour guides and three lousy ones.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 12:09 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: frass canyon
Posts: 16,249
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Use google to find me three good D.C. tour guides and three lousy ones.
three good:
City Segway Tours - (202) 626-0017
Bike and Roll - (202) 842-2453
Capital Segway Tours - (202) 682-1980

three lousy:
OnBoard Tours - (301) 839-5261
US Capitol Building Tour - (202) 226-8000
Doubledecker Tours - (202) 408-1904


Now, do you think that the government should regulate restaurants (not on health/safety, but quality). I mean, some tourist might be hungry and walk into a restaurant and get shitty food. We need the government to regulate to protect a consumer from getting a poor quality tour of the city. Why not have the nanny state step in and make sure that someone doesn't get a poor quality meal?
RoyalTea is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 01:02 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Newberg, OR
Posts: 17,240
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Use google to find me three good D.C. tour guides and three lousy ones.
Do you seriously think that the government looks into how good a tour guide is when processing the permit application?
Jeremy517 is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 01:10 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,201
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

I think the government needs to control what a tour guide knows and what is important for consumers to hear. That is what "the land of the free" is all about. I sure wouldn't want a tour association to spring up if this were an actual problem and take care of it themselves. After all, people may hear about things that are not on the approved list.
kvrdave is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 01:59 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
three good:
City Segway Tours - (202) 626-0017
Bike and Roll - (202) 842-2453
Capital Segway Tours - (202) 682-1980

three lousy:
OnBoard Tours - (301) 839-5261
US Capitol Building Tour - (202) 226-8000
Doubledecker Tours - (202) 408-1904
Just to pick one example, Tripadvisor.com gives OnBoard Tours 3.5 out of 5 stars, Travelpod.com gives them 4 out of 5 tours, and when I'm in DC with my wife and 2.3 kids, do I really want to spend my time looking up tour companies on my smart phone?

I mean, Jesus fucking Christ I hate this board sometimes. All I did was say that hey, maybe when I'm in a strange city, about to buy a service that I can't readily tell the quality of before I buy it, maybe the free market won't be 100% effective. I forgot that around here, that makes me Mao 2.0.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 02:05 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,201
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Just to pick one example, Tripadvisor.com gives OnBoard Tours 3.5 out of 5 stars, Travelpod.com gives them 4 out of 5 tours, and when I'm in DC with my wife and 2.3 kids, do I really want to spend my time looking up tour companies on my smart phone?

I mean, Jesus fucking Christ I hate this board sometimes. All I did was say that hey, maybe when I'm in a strange city, about to buy a service that I can't readily tell the quality of before I buy it, maybe the free market won't be 100% effective. I forgot that around here, that makes me Mao 2.0.
No, I understand, and fortunately the founding fathers could see this terrible position you would be in as well when they wrote the costitution. Imagine if the government were not involved and you were to be inconvenienced. Holy shit. Let that soak in. Just imagine.

Perhaps merely requiring smart phones for all tourists would make this situation something no one would ever have to endure. A 3.5 out of 5 stars....are we barbarians?
kvrdave is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 02:15 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
No, I understand, and fortunately the founding fathers could see this terrible position you would be in as well when they wrote the costitution. Imagine if the government were not involved and you were to be inconvenienced. Holy shit. Let that soak in. Just imagine.

Perhaps merely requiring smart phones for all tourists would make this situation something no one would ever have to endure. A 3.5 out of 5 stars....are we barbarians?
You miss my point entirely. 3.5 out of 5 is good, but RoyalTea said it was a bad tour guide. I don't know whether it is or isn't -- all I'm suggesting is that maybe it's a legitimate role for the government to provide a little more information to consumers here, since the fucking free market is premised on the assumption that consumers and producers have perfect information and that never fucking happens in real life but it never stops two thirds of the fucking forum from jacking off to the idea of deregulating every fucking thing in sight and letting the market fucking sort it out. It's nonsense spouted by a bunch of posers who think their Econ 101 class makes them think they're the second coming of Milton Friedman and I'm a little sick of it tonight.

Also, I've had not a small bit of whiskey, so that may have something to do with my impatience. I'm sure I'll love you all again in the morning.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 02:21 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,201
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

I'll match your whiskey with my rum, sir!

Perhaps what we really need is just one state approved tour agency, eh, comrade?
kvrdave is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 07:46 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Madison, WI ("77 square miles surrounded by reality")
Posts: 30,006
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Aside from jobs that require specialized life and death type skills and knowledge (for the time being let's leave that to a different debate), most occupational licensing is a disguise for protecting those already in the business from more competition.

But perhaps I would be permanently damaged if a tour guide erroneously told me the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (aka “the National Zoo”) is one of the 19 Smithsonian Museums. If I related this error to my friends, could you imagine the humiliation? I might die of shame.

John Stossel did one of his Fox Business Network shows on this. One example was floral arrangers in one of the southern states. Louisiana or Mississippi, I can't remember for sure. They had to spend thousands of dollars and an inordinate number of hours on classes and pass a subjective test where their skills met the tastes of those giving the tests (already licensed floral arrangers who may not like more competition). As if customers liking their arrangements isn't enough. IIRC, the Institute of Justice got these regulations repealed.

OK, I decided to look it up and here we are:

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com...iana-florists/
movielib is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 09:16 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 122,951
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by movielib View Post
Aside from jobs that require specialized life and death type skills and knowledge (for the time being let's leave that to a different debate), most occupational licensing is a disguise for protecting those already in the business from more competition.

But perhaps I would be permanently damaged if a tour guide erroneously told me the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (aka “the National Zoo”) is one of the 19 Smithsonian Museums. If I related this error to my friends, could you imagine the humiliation? I might die of shame.

John Stossel did one of his Fox Business Network shows on this. One example was floral arrangers in one of the southern states. Louisiana or Mississippi, I can't remember for sure. They had to spend thousands of dollars and an inordinate number of hours on classes and pass a subjective test where their skills met the tastes of those giving the tests (already licensed floral arrangers who may not like more competition). As if customers liking their arrangements isn't enough. IIRC, the Institute of Justice got these regulations repealed.

OK, I decided to look it up and here we are:

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com...iana-florists/

That was a really good episode between the flower-arranging, beautician, and funeral casket licensing requirements in various states. I mean, heaven forfend, we have a more free-market approach to these things. But I guess that makes me a stayed-at-a-Holiday-Inn-Express Milton Friedman wanna-be poser. Marginalize me!

I'd be the first one to say that the licensing requirement for my profession is a joke. It has extremely little to do with the real practice of law.

And poor poor JasonF. I mean his side basically 'won' a long time ago, but I guess that's not good enough.

Last edited by Red Dog; 09-18-10 at 09:36 AM.
Red Dog is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 09:22 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Words
Posts: 28,207
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Licensing requirements also are revenue generators....or at least can be.
NotThatGuy is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 09:47 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Well, it's morning and I love you all again. I still think you're unreasonably hostile to anything that suggests that maybe the government can play a role in facilitating an efficient market, though.

Red Dog, if you think my side won, you haven't been paying attention to the political discourse of the past 30 years. If my side had truly won, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 09:49 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Working for Gizmonic Institute
Posts: 10,430
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
If my side had truly won, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Because we'd all be in reeducation camps?







crazyronin is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 09:50 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 122,951
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Well, it's morning and I love you all again. I still think you're unreasonably hostile to anything that suggests that maybe the government can play a role in facilitating an efficient market, though.

Red Dog, if you think my side won, you haven't been paying attention to the political discourse of the past 30 years. If my side had truly won, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Then you must be more left than I thought.

I mean, for pete's sake, we have states that have licensing requirements to arrange flowers!? To think this is absurd is unreasonable hostility. That tells me what side has won the regulatory battle.

Want more proof of which side has won? Look at the Federal Register. Has it ever gotten smaller?
Red Dog is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:04 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
Then you must be more left than I thought.

I mean, for pete's sake, we have states that have licensing requirements to arrange flowers!? To think this is absurd is unreasonable hostility. That tells me what side has won the regulatory battle.

Want more proof of which side has won? Look at the Federal Register. Has it ever gotten smaller?
Are you denying that we haven't had a ton of deregulation since the Carter administration?

A lot of that deregulation was good, mind you, but not all of it.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:13 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 122,951
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

The amount of deregulation has been dwarfed by the amount of new regulation. Again, has the Federal Register gotten bigger or smaller since the Carter Administration?

The amount of regulation in this country is mind-boggling to me. And worse, my view is the one that is outside the mainstream. We're the ones who are continually marginalized. Now that's depressing.

So when I see you, who is a fan of the regulatory state, then bitch about the discourse of people who don't like it, it's annoying to say the least.

If I could trade the view of this board (as you see it) for the gov't to slant my way, I'd gladly do so and wouldn't bitch about the board.
Red Dog is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:22 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: frass canyon
Posts: 16,249
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Should the government regulate the quality of restaurants, above health/safety minimum standards?

What if you went to a new city and wanted to grab a bite to eat and went to an Italian restaurant and the chef couldn't pass a test of Mexican recipes?

I'm sure I could find a restaurant that's given 1 star by one review site, 2.5 stars by another and 4 stars by a third. Sounds like we need the government to step in and protect me from the possibility of eating food that is healthy and safe, but tastes like shit.

And how is that any different from this tour guide situation?
RoyalTea is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:25 AM
  #23  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 122,951
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Son of a gun....the FR (at least 2008) is actually smaller than in 1980. Not by much, but it is. Of course, I could also cherry-pick 2 other years: say 1990, where it went from 53K pages to 80K in 2008, or 1970, when it was 1/4 the size of the 2008 one.

The fact that it's 80,000 pages should be an alarm, but alas, I'm the wack-job.
Red Dog is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:47 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,539
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Red Dog, I didn't say you were a wack-job, and I'm not really interested in having a debate about whether deregulation is sufficiently popular, so whatever.

RoyalTea, why do you carve out health/safety? Shouldn't you be railing against government health inspectors, too?

As for restaurant quality, that's so much more inherently subjective than something like "Is a tour guide imparting accurate information to people" that I don't think the government could meaningfully add to people's information. So I don't support regulating restaurants for quality. Sorry to take away your straw-man -- you were clearly having so much fun with it.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-18-10, 10:49 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Hero
 
jfoobar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 37,812
Re: Tour Guides: a free market industry, or in need of gov't regulation

Just me $.02 here, but I would suspect that the original intent behind licensing tour guides in the city had more than a little something to do with public safety and truly legitimate consumer protection concerns. The scheme that actually exists today, however, has very likely ventured well beyond reasonably addressing the original concerns into a mechanism of revenue grabbing for the DC government along with offering a series of protectionist roadblocks for the existing tour operators.
jfoobar is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.