The Anti-Capitalism of the Mortuary Lobby

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The funeral industry is historically one of the most anti-competitive and corporatist industries in America. State statutes are filled with useless and immoral laws that do nothing but secure monopoly powers for funeral homes and other parties of the funeral industry, such as casket makers.

The latest news on this front comes from Louisiana where monks, who have been quietly making caskets there for 100 years, have been informed that they aren’t allowed to sell caskets to any residents of Louisiana, because…uh, because well it would lessen the profits of the funeral homes who make tons of coin from charging people thousands of dollars for ridiculous metal caskets and embalming procedures and other wastes of time and money. And it ensures that people must buy their coffins only from those same funeral homes. Want to bring a $1,000 hand-made casket from home? Too bad. The funeral industry has made sure you will have to shell out $10,000 for one of their caskets. People should be free to buy embalming and coffins with racing stripes if they want, but the industry has long been in the business of preventing others from competing against them through state force.

For more on the funeral industry’s efforts to use state power to exploit grieving families, and on the home funeral movement, see The American Way of Death and the great documentary film A Family Undertaking.

11:57 am on July 4, 2012