The licensing of witches

Matt Yglesias probably wishes he were blogging this story, via Salem, Massachusetts:

Just as Ms. Szafranski predicted, the number of psychic licenses has drastically increased, to 75 today, up from a mere handful in 2007. And now Ms. Szafranski, some fellow psychics and city officials worry the city is on psychic overload.

“It’s like little ants running all over the place, trying to get a buck,” grumbled Ms. Szafranski, 75, who quit her job as an accountant in 1991 to open Angelica of the Angels, a store that sells angel figurines and crystals and provides psychic readings. She says she has lost business since the licensing change.

“Many of them are not trained,” she said of her rivals. “They don’t understand that when you do a reading you hold a person’s life in your hands.”

The article is interesting throughout and for the pointer I thank Ryan.

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“Many of them are not trained,” she said of her rivals. “They don’t understand that when you do a reading you hold a person’s life in your hands.”

If the supernatural were real, lightning would have struck her at that point.

Sure, we should license them. We should license the frauds out of existence.

The city wants licensing fees, while the established psychics want barriers to competition from new entrants. A textbook case.

“Many of them are not trained,” she said of her rivals.

They need something like a Ph.D program, years of courses, requiring publications for advancement, at least one miracle, and then grant them tenure as we do in colleges.

PhDs are analogous to psychic licenses, in that a PhD is supposed to do original research, but usually does not. Indeed, since peer review came into effect in the 1940s, actual originality has become dangerous and unfashionable. If you are original, you are deviating from the consensus, and if you deviate from the consensus, you are probably stepping on somebody's toes.

The PhD's original research resembles the psychic's miracle.

There's a joke here somewhere about economists, but I can't quite pin it down.

Psychics are too atomized. They need a self-regulatory guild system for training blah blah blah. I know ! Call it a "seminary".

I was going to comment about this posting, but then I thought about the consequences of a spell being put on me.

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yut

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