Former Chicago Health Inspector Confesses to Making the Market Freer

G. Stolyarov II
Issue CXXXII - December 13, 2007
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Governmental corruption is not always undesirable. When corrupt government officials are willing to overlook stifling and unjust regulations and enable the free market to function as it would have in the absence of state controls, such corruption might save an economy from collapsing. This was certainly the case with the former Soviet Union and remains the case in many Third World countries today. Theodore Dalrymple, in “The Uses of Corruption,” attributes much of Italy’s present prosperity to its thriving black markets, tolerated by corrupt politicians.

Henry Fields, former Chicago Public Health Department inspector, is a prime example of benign corruption. Fields recently admitted before a court that he accepted bribes from some 600 workers in grocery stores and restaurants in exchange for the certificates that permitted them to handle food, even though they did not meet the government standards required to obtain such certificates.

But government has no business to regulate the food service industry in the first place – except to prevent fraud. Requiring state certificates to work in a particular line of business is blatant protectionism, intended to artificially boost the earnings of those already in that industry by creating a legal barrier to entry. By accepting bribes to get around the regulations, Fields unwittingly helped make the Chicago food service industry more competitive. One could even make the case that the bribes were justified as compensation for the risk Fields was taking in breaking the unjust law.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre,  Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, weekly columnist for, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. Mr. Stolyarov also publishes his articles on and Associated Content to assist the spread of rational ideas. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. His most recent play is Implied Consent. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here...

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.