Freeman

ARTICLE

Book Review: The Rule of Experts: Occupational Licensing in America by S. David Young

NOVEMBER 01, 1987 by TOMMY W. ROGERS

Cato Institute, 224 Second Street, S.E_, Washington, D,C, 20003 1987 • 99 pages $7.95 paperback

Occupational licensure is a political process whereby various trades and professions are enabled to erect barriers against competition through the enforcement power of the state. Some 640 occupations in the United States require registration, and some 490 are currently licensed. This procedure limits consumer choice, raises consumer costs, increases practitioner income, and restricts entry opportunity without a demonstrated improvement in quality or safety beyond that provided by private certification.

Licensing confers monopoly advantages which enable practitioners of hundreds of services to charge above-market prices. The wealthy can afford to pay but the poor are often forced to do without. It’s as if those who cannot afford a Cadillac are forbidden to buy a Honda.

But do we not need licensing to insure quality service and weed out quacks? No, says the author. Private certification which limits the use of certain titles—Realtor, for example,and other nonintrusive mechanisms would afford substantially the same protection, without violating any basic freedoms.

(Tommy W. Rogers is an attorney in Jackson, Mississippi.)

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

November 1987

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required
Sign me up for...

CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION