One of the more consequential episodes in the history of crony capitalism occurred in 17th and 18th century France. Cheap clothing made from cotton was threatening the rich woolen, linen, and silk manufacturers, so they persuaded the government to ban it. In short order, government agents began spying into homes and coaches and reporting on anyone who dared to wear the new fabric. Thousands of violators of the ban were rounded up and either sent to prison or to ships as galley slaves, which was a death sentence.
In Britain, the same manufacturers demanded a similar ban from the King, but were turned down. As a direct result, Britain launched its industrial revolution by making cheap cotton clothing for the world, and began to get rich, while France stagnated economically.