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Italy's Proposed Guild Reform Law...More taxis...

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My local CBC (Canada) news yesterday carried an interesting piece about Italy and how legislation is trying to be passed to reform the country's traditional guild system that has resulted in various guilds stifle competition in areas such as taxis, pharmacies and even preventing Starbucks from entering the caffe market.

It was esepcially mentioned that a perpetual shortage of taxis in places like Florence and Rome are due to the tight grip taxi guilds have over the supply and competition - restricting the number of licensed cabs serving those cities and others - keeping competition out also results in higher cab fares, etc.

Pharmacies were also pointed out - guilds have restricted large pharmacies and hypermarches from competing so prices in the small pharmacies that dot Italian streets are much higher than they would be if competition were opened up.

And Starbucks apparently has been stymied in joining the caffe fray as well - though the program did not elaborate on exactly how guilds were doing this - perhaps that is more a matter of local zoning where towns like the Slow Foods towns have zoned out McDonalds and fast food places totally. McDonalds itself though now omnipresent all over Italy in non Slow Food towns at least faced such bureaucratic blockades when they sought to enter the Italian market a few decades ago - previously having been restricted to a single outlet near the Spanish Steps in Rome I believe - but McDonalds simply bought a big Italian hambuer chain - Burgy I believe it was called - and suddently Golden Archew were everywhere.

Anyway things may be changing soon in Italy as archaic and restrictive laws friendly to guilds may be scrapped.

Heck even stodgy Trenitalia is now forced to rface comeptition of different rail companies operating over their tracks!

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