I recently visited a Dr. and when I got there, the nurse asked me to fill out a computer questionnaire that took 1 hour to fill out. After I filled it out, I was asked to sign a statement that said such things as "you will not be paid for filling out this questionnaire, the contents might be used by commercial factors, there are unlimited people in the survey" and a hundred other things that gave it a false aura of legitimacy.

I am wondering to what extent the false aura of legitimacy pervades our field. The classic example is the elections in a marxist or democratic regime, or the government institution that's there ostensibly to protect you from harming yourself but is really a gate for preventing competition from small and new entrants into the field. The committees in the markets to maintain order and proper pricing that are really arenas for the members to mark the positions in their favor, and force out the non-members through margin changes and rule changes comes to mind. The rules against competition in all fields, the licensing requirements, and for example the ethics tests that one must pass in certain fields. How pervasive is this and what is the relevance to our field?

Sam Marx writes: 

I agree that the urge not to compete in a fair open market if one is able to set up a monopoly or obtain an advantage is there, and it's a part of human nature. I believe that it cannot be eliminated entirely but there are some changes that would help. I also believe that lying and cheating obtained a large impetus and some begrudging approval when the graduated income tax became constitutional. Therefore, a recommendation I would make is to do away with the graduated income tax and have a flat income tax or replace the income tax with a sales tax. I don't expect to see any of this in my lifetime however. 

Bill Rafter writes: 

Sham credentials. There exist a variety of market-oriented groups whose stated purpose is to identify the truly worthy. However all they really do is confer the aura of legitimacy on those in need of same, while providing income for the executives at group headquarters and hoodwinking the public. The group is frequently a "non-profit", adding more prestige. The legitimacy is conferred by letting the novice fork over not-insubstantial funds, taking a few tests and eventually getting the rights to put letters after his or her name, provided he stays a dues-paying member of the group. The orientation of the group can be fundamental, technical, quantitative, retirement planning or risk aversion.

My personal observation is that some market-oriented groups are worthy, and those which do not offer the paid initials are the best.


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