In the Middle Ages, guilds held a monopoly on who could work in a whole range of trades, from blacksmith to brewer. The guilds set high hurdles for new entrants, or blocked them entirely, in order to limit competition.
France’s minister of finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert once ordered all French crafts to form guilds “so as to compose by this means a group and organization of capable persons, and close the doors to the ignorant.” But the great free-market economist Adam Smith held a different view of guilds: He called them “a conspiracy against the public.”
The Washington policy guild often operates like a medieval guild in its effort to screen out “ignorant” heretics who hold disruptive ideas. Just look at their hysterical overreaction to President Trump’s appointment of economist Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board, whose primary role is setting the level of interest rates in the economy.
Moore has been a senior economist on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, served as an economist at the Heritage Foundation, and been a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, where I got to know him well. He is known for his sunny disposition and ability to work with others.
Read more at National Review.