“I Do Not Believe That the Economy of the Future of My State Will Be Built on That Industry”
Gov. Jay Nixon, who signed the legislation, has traveled the state promoting job expansions in other industries. He expressed little concern Friday about the potential loss of jobs for strippers and others in the adult entertainment industry.
“I do not believe that the economy of the future of my state will be built on that industry,” Nixon said.
If a person disapproves of the exotic services industry, then he or she may choose not to patronize those businesses. It is quite another thing, however, to prevent other individuals from engaging in voluntary market transactions.
The problem in Missouri is that the state government is propping up industries that are failing, and simultaneously squashing industries that are successful without subsidy in the private sector. Individuals and businesses should not be given special advantages over others — even if one economic activity (e.g., exotic dancing) is viewed as less glamorous or moral than another (e.g., filmmaking or computer services). Restrictions such as this one create inequality because they force unfavored businesses to compete at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. This invites corruption as a consequence, because the restrictions incite individuals and businesses to petition the government for special treatment.
If the state government in Missouri were serious about promoting economic development, it would stop attempting to pick and choose the economic activities that occur within its borders. This strategy didn’t work for the Soviet Union, and it won’t work for Missouri, either.