OK maybe it’s not a “complex” but it sure is a racket.
Funeral directors all across the country have erected legal barriers to entry to the business. Since death is such a traumatic time for the bereaved it has long been held that no one but the proper licensed authority should interact with the family during this time. I mean, someone might take advantage of a grieving widow.
With licensed funeral directors those $3500 coffins can be sold and put into the ground without the fear of some unscrupulous person with nothing but dollar signs floating in his mind swooping in.
But wouldn’t you know it? Those always troublesome Benedictine monks had to go and start making pine boxes which undercut the funeral directors. How is one supposed to sell a silk lined supercapsule to heaven if a bunch of monks start making coffins for 1/5 the price? Even worse? When the funeral directors came after the monks, the monks had the gall to make a big deal of the spat in court!
And they won.
(From The Washington Times)
It’s not like a wooden box poses a safety hazard to someone who’s already dead. The dust and ashes to which the dead are returning surely won’t mind. This was such an obvious case of economic protectionism that the monks turned to the courts for relief. The state of Louisiana sought to dismiss the case, arguing that it is within the purview of the state to pick economic winners and losers. The court would have none of it. “As we see it,” the judges declared, “neither precedent nor broader principles suggest that mere economic protection of a particular industry is a legitimate governmental purpose.”