Thanks to JR for bringing my attention to this important development in the international regulation of the barber industry:
The government has given barbers and beauticians a break in areas affected by the March 11 earthquake, easing laws to allow them to clip and style at shelters or makeshift shops near temporary housing sites. The relaxed regulations will last for about two years beginning this month, according to the government.
The current barbers’ and beauticians’ laws ban the cutting of hair at places other than authorized shops, except for customers who cannot come shops due to illness or hairdressers who provide services at weddings. But the earthquake damaged many hairdressers’ shops and has made transportation to and from authorized shops difficult, leading to many requests from local people for the laws to be changed. This is the first time the rules on cutting hair have been relaxed for any reason.
Something important to note here is that the existing framework already included exemptions for key circumstances in which the regulations would inconvenience people. That’s better than a totally inflexible regulatory framework. But it’s also a bit of a giveaway. If a bride on her wedding day is prepared to roll the dice on getting her hair done someplace that’s not an authorized barber shop then why shouldn’t she be allowed to do so six months later? Why shouldn’t I be allowed to do it whenever I want? Surely the issue isn’t that hairstyle quality is uniquely unimportant during weddings and thus we can afford to loosen the regulation. Let’s regulate polluters and banks whose activities pose meaningful risks to innocent bystanders and let people cut hair in peace.