A Brief History of Occupational Licensing
5 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017 Last revised: 28 Jul 2017
Date Written: May 23, 2017
The arc of history has tended toward the licensing of an ever-larger number of professions. Today, a number of them—such as barbers, bartenders, and florists—are subject to licensing requirements even though the regulated activities do not bear even a remote relation to protection of the life, health, and safety of community members. Licensing individuals before allowing them to claim that they are “able to heal, cure or relieve those suffering from any injury, deformity or disease” makes sense, but today’s licensing regimes prohibit individuals, sometimes on pain of criminal liability, from engaging in conduct that poses no risk of harm to any person or to the community. Such a regime causes injury rather than protecting against it.
Keywords: occupational licensing, licensing
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