Do We Really Need Government Licensing For Professionals?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Video | Posted on 16-03-2010


John Stossel had a great episode last week on government licensed professions. Here is a short segment from the show.

OK, so the typical statist argument goes, “Do you want your butcher to perform surgery on you?”. Well, maybe. It depends. How many successful operations has he performed in the past? What’s his success rate? How does that compare to his competitor or a certified doctor? This argument that they lay out assumes that we are all driveling idiots, and the government in it’s infinite wisdom is here to protect us. Without the state, we’d hand a knife over to anyone to cut us open.

Professions without government licensing would operate no different than they do with licensing, except they’d have more competition and waste less time, money and energy on stupid government regulations. Ultimately, that would lead to better prices for consumers and more options.

So, what do you do now when you look for say a licensed real estate agent? Do you just go up to some stranger and say “Here’s my keys. Go sell my house.” Of course not, you ask around to people you trust asking who they recommend. Then you may look online to see if they have reviews. A perfect example is Angieslist. I just had my carpets cleaned. Did I just grab a phone book and call a random number to clean my carpets? No, I checked Angieslist, read reviews, and called for a price from those who had the best reviews. This would be no different with any profession, including doctors.

The truth is professions do like to keep out competitors. They don’t want you having the freedom to ask your neighbor who wired up his house himself to help you wire up yours. You must be forced into calling a licensed electrician. Then you must call an inspector to certify your job. Why can’t you use your neighbor? After all, it’s a free country right? Why can’t you call an inspector only if you want to make sure the electrician did his job right. This should be voluntary. Yes, you may sell your house, but the buyer should then pay an inspector to make sure they aren’t buying  a house with electrical problems. This too should be voluntary.

Now, I have nothing against voluntary associations and certifications. If doctors, attorneys or electricians what to set themselves apart from their competition, I have no problem with them forming an association and certifications. Those tell the consumer that they have gone through more training, and they are approved by the association. This is good information, but it should be voluntary. I should be able to choose between someone not a member of the association, who may not have had all the rigorous training but may be cheaper, or the certified member of an association, who I know has gone through a specific training program. I work in computers and this is how it works in our field. I don’t need to be a licensed IT consultant, but if I want to separate myself and increase my opportunities of employment, I go through certain certifications for my area of expertise. This tells potential employers that I’ve gone through certain training and was able to pass the tests that go with it. I’ve demonstrated a certain amount of knowledge. This should be the same of all professions.

The truth is there is not need for licensing. It’s just another way for governments to take you freedom and to prevent competition.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Comments (1)

Absolutely – what I never understood was why certain professions required certifications and others didn’t. I know the statist answer to that is “we haven’t gotten to them yet but we will”, but still, all certifications should be voluntary and let the market decide what they want to buy.

VA:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Write a comment