One of the difficulties in arguing against licensing requirements is that the innovation they prevent is unseen.
But a brilliant MIT grad named Star Simpson is making the unseen seen via the Tacocopter. It’s a small, unmanned drone helicopter that would deliver orders made via smartphone to locations determined via smartphone users’ GPS.
Would, but can’t. The journalists at Wired got super excited, only to find out that Tacocopter is a no-go until the FAA relaxes regulations requiring difficult-to-obtain licenses for unmanned aircraft. So the punchline is that the government can kill you with drones but it won’t let Tacocopter use them to deliver your tacos.
But why? Unmanned drones require difficult-to-obtain licenses because pilots lobbied for the requirements. Pilots know unmanned aircraft is competition. And what do you do about competition in a corporatist state? You rent seek. Licensure is perfect rent seeking because it artificially limits competition.
When cops were trying to use drones to aid with surveillance, pilots teamed up with the ACLU to fight the law, and not because they were worried about civil liberties.
So this is a brilliant move by Simpson to make at least one thing that we’re missing out on as a society due to corporatism extremely clear. Here’s hoping the taco lobby is stronger than the pilot lobby and the Wired journalists get their tacos real soon.
Rabbit trail begun via Tyler Cowan’s Marginal Revolution blog.