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It may appear funny, but our anti-dynamist culture is probably not far away from being like this. Here is a brief story via Tim Taylor, about Greece of course:

This is best encapsulated in an anecdote from my visit to Athens. A friend and I met up at a new bookstore and café in the centre of town, which has only been open for a month. The establishment is in the center of an area filled with bars, and the owner decided the neighborhood could use a place for people to convene and talk without having to drink alcohol and listen to loud music. After we sat down, we asked the waitress for a coffee. She thanked us for our order and immediately turned and walked out the front door. My friend explained that the owner of the bookstore/café couldn’t get a license to provide coffee. She had tried to just buy a coffee machine and give the coffee away for free, thinking that lingering patrons would boost book sales. However, giving away coffee was illegal as well. Instead, the owner had to strike a deal with a bar across the street, whereby they make the coffee and the waitress spends all day shuttling between the bar and the bookstore/café. My friend also explained to me that books could not be purchased at the bookstore, as it was after 18h and it is illegal to sell books in Greece beyond that hour. I was in a bookstore/café that could neither sell books nor make coffee.

A good place to start looking for things like this in America would be ________ … ?

2 Responses to “The Thin Green(k) Line”

  1. Philadelphia.

    When I was living there I was told it was illegal to sell beer outside of specially-designated beer distributors. Except there were bodegas selling sixers at astronomical rates. I’m talking worse than New York City prices – the going rate for a sixer of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was anywhere between $14-$16. Anyway, I wondered how bodegas could get away with selling beer, given the uncivilized and, frankly, criminal laws on the books. A friend asked me what the one thing all bodegas selling beer had alike?

    A small table with a chair or two, usually tucked into a corner behind the chip and sundry rack.

    Apparently, if you’re running an establishment that “serves” food that can be “consumed” on the premises, you can sell beer.

    Go figure.

    N.B. I’m not a lawyer and could be totally wrong and just let myself get hoodwinked by unscrupulous price-gougers laughing all the way to the bank, who knows.

    P.S. In a twist on the whole “we can’t let people sell booze because then everyone will be alcoholics” mantra that is the madness in Pennsylvania: I became inured to drinking copious amounts of spirits as an alternative to my preferred beer because you could actually buy a bottle of bottom-shelf whiskey without breaking the bank. *Takes nip from flask under desk at work*.

  2. Trey says:

    “A good place to start looking for things like this in America would be ________ … ?”

    The street: uber and lift vs the taxi/political cartel

    The internet: Think of the latest the FCC title II reclassification

    Energy: think EPA CO2 rule

    Medical, autos, education, … Seriously, I could go on all night with this list.

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