Like most states in our union, the Texas state government makes a point of restraining some people so that others can make more money without working as hard. For example, virtually every state in the union or municipality has laws “licensing” taxis. The rationale for these licenses is to create cartels that are protected from competition and thus made more lucrative. The state always claims these rules are in the public good, when they actually harm the public.
In Texas, one such area of cartelization is “cosmetology.” A license is required to practice cosmetology and the license requires 750 hours of class time. The training can cost twenty thousand dollars.
What this means is that people who are marginal, but who could cut your hair or do your nails just as well as any more literate, better educated person, are prohibited from offering their services. Those who can afford the training to get the license can then charge higher prices because there is less competition.
But a new service emerged that started up spontaneously, having nothing to do with the current Texas cosmetology industry. Wesley Hottot and Nick Sibilla explain in the Star Telegram:
Eyebrows have been threaded in the Middle East and South Asia for centuries. In the United States, threading is becoming an increasingly popular method of removing unwanted hair.
Instead of harsh chemicals or painful waxes, threaders merely use a simple, tightly wound cotton strand, loop it around their fingers and brush the thread across a client’s face.
Threading is both cheaper than waxing and hurts less than using tweezers. It’s a win-win for small businesses and consumers.
You can use Google image search to see pictures of it being done. You will notice that there are no chemicals involved and no sharp objects.
The important point here is that naively and spontaneously, people who learned the skill of threading have done it for other people who wanted to be threaded. And those people who wanted to be threaded paid money to the people who satisfactorily threaded them. It was a perfect example of mutualism and social harmony.
So naturally the state of Texas is ready to fine these people $2000 every time they are caught plying their illegal trade?
Threading is illegal?
No, but almost. Threading is cosmetology, according to the Texas Department of Wrecking The Lives of Poor People Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). Unless these people who are happily threading clients’ faces go learn how to do perms and cut hair and apply makeup, etc, spending all those hours in class and paying for those classes, they are not permitted to thread.
But what if they never wanted to deal with hair and makeup and nails? What if they only wanted to thread?
The TDLR doesn’t care. It has one and only one classification for threading and that is as part of cosmetology.
A group of threaders have appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to overturne the TDLR’s claim to have jurisdiction. We’ll see.