Caution: Lawyers Ahead
|February 14, 2014||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2014 excerpt of iranian.com, Feb 12, is by Reza Varjavand of Saint Xavier University in Chicago.
Rent seeking is often carried out through exorbitant lawsuits against business firms and the costs are passed on to consumers. Mighty corporations like pharmaceutical companies are also shielded by the patent system. In a recent lawsuit, the jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages to be paid by Samsung for allegedly copying some aspects of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
Lawyers will gain handsomely regardless of the outcomes. They may also encourage companies to file even more lawsuits in anticipation of monetary gain as well as monopoly of power. Propagation of such cases can divert companies’ attention away from focusing on their products and redirect it toward gaining easy money at the expense of their rivals.
There are more than 3100 lobbyists working for the healthcare industry alone (nearly 6 for every congressperson), and 2100 lobbyists working for the energy and natural-resources industries. Physicians are represented by more than 750 lobbyists in Washington spending nearly $80 million every year to safeguard their interests.
The U.S. ranks at the top when it comes to the number of licensed lawyers. There are currently 1,143,358 of them, one per every 265 people. The inverse correlation between economic growth and the number of lawyers has been documented.
Despite oversupply, the costs of legal service keep rising at usually twice the rate of inflation. The mounting spending on legal services is partially due to additional demand created through vigorous advertising by lawyers seeking to find lucrative targets for possible lawsuits. Such solicitation efforts have been proliferating in the mass media – via commercials aired during the shows watched by most susceptible people – and particularly in the form of billboard advertising that is proliferating especially in the aftermath of Great Recession of 2008.
Lawyers, just like medical doctors, have to go through rigorous training and a time-consuming licensing process. They incur an immense amount of debt upon graduation. Once they finally begin practicing, they feel the need to generate as much money as possible to pay off that debt and make up the opportunity cost of the time they have invested in education and demanding internships.
The proliferation of specialists has caused massive increase in the number of surgeries performed in the US, “400% in a little over a decade”. Like many other business people, lawyers often tend to create a market for real or imaginary problems because they have already a solution for them. Lawyers, like doctors, earn income when things go wrong.
Ed. Notes: Most politicians are lawyers. Lawyers have persuaded politicians to pass laws that make it a punishable offense for a non licensed legal expert to perform even a routine task. Lawyers have erected insider court proceedings that if anyone representing themselves fail to follow can be found in contempt of court. None of this is to facilitate justice for society but to fatten the pockets of lawyers.
Doctors use the same tactics of requiring licenses, punishing non conformists, and winning other laws to maintain their oligopoly.
What can the rest of society do? Get its government out of the licensing racket. Get rid of automatic limited liability so people in business would have to become responsible personally for their decisions to cheat. And, basically, share society’s surplus so it can’t be concentrated onto few major owners and corporations that hire the unscrupulous minions to do their dirty work. If people feel materially secure, perhaps those now tempted will be able to resist a career in lawyering.