What is the “Baptists and Bootleggers” theory of regulation? (A very important concept.)

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Still a common scene in much of the Appalachians.

In some places one cannot sell liquor on Sundays. The “Baptists” love this law as they hate booze. But the bootleggers like the law too, as without the law they’d be out of business. One could even throw in the alcohol cops (we still have them in Virginia) which also like the law, who don’t care about “demon rum,” or the artificial market which provides an opportunity to sell to thirsty customers on Sunday, but do care about keeping their jobs. So perhaps the theory should be expanded to include not only “Baptists,” and “bootleggers,” but also bureaucrats.

Seemingly diametrically opposed forces work together to keep this kind of regulation on the books and it happens throughout the economy as this brief video explains.