Posted 22 September 2013 - 10:25 PM
I must say that I am not much in favor of licensing schemes whose sole purpose is to raise more tax dollars for politicians to squander, under the guise of public health and safety. Personal and corporate taxes should cover that, and licensing fees should cover the additional or special costs of administering particular programs. (And while a separate topic, query whether you really believe your tax dollars or licensing fees are making your food any safer or less adulterated.) If you accept that notion, then the vendor at the farmer's market is paying for an opportunity that probably would not exist but for the payment of a fee, and would not bother to come if there were not money to be made over and above the fee. The farmer's market generates waste, traffic management and other things that would not exist but for the farmer's market, and it is frequented only by a portion of the general population, so it is entirely appropriate for licensing fees to be charged to cover its administration. Those fees are passed on to the consumer through the pricing of the goods sold, as in any business. If the best tamales are to be found at the farmer's market, you will buy them there, even at a higher price, or maybe you will buy there out of convenience or impulse buying, or maybe you will even buy lousy tamales to support the vendor whose other stuff is good, or maybe just to support the farmer's market in general.
Back to our door-to-door tamale man: could be that he cannot afford a stand at the farmer's market, at least not without growing a clientele. Could be that he delivers a fresher, more authentic product. Could be that he, too, makes lousy tamales, but he is trying to support a family of 8 and he needs your help without it appearing that he is begging. (Any of us ever buy things that we did not want or need just to help somebody?) You get my drift. The possibilities and motivations in both scenarios can be complex and completely unrelated.
I am law-abiding, and certainly encourage others to be. It is, after all, the basis for civilized human society. On the other hand, the global economic collapse of 2008, brought on by a bunch of greedy banksters and their minions, tells us that the law-abiding are too often the poor saps left holding the bag. While I surely do not liken the two situations, I will say that, unlike the criminal activities of 2008, I do not see the harm, either to the vendor at the farmer's market or to the populace at large, of the door-to-door tamale man. You are free to support the vendor at the expense of the tamale man, or vice versa...