On Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Timothy Sandefur about “Occupational Licensing Versus the Right to Earn a Living.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Podcast: 2 October 2013

Many states require licenses to practice certain professions – from medicine to styling hair. What are the practical effects of such licensing requirements? Do they protect the public from quacks, as their defenders claim? Or do they violate a person’s right to earn a living, discourage entrepreneurs, promote poverty? How have the courts ruled on cases challenging licensing requirements?

Timothy Sandefur is a Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. As the lead attorney in the Foundation’s Economic Liberty Project, he works to protect businesses against abusive government regulation, and has won important victories for free enterprise in California, Oregon, Missouri, and other states. He is the author of three books, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America (2006), The Right to Earn A Living: Economic Freedom And The Law (2010), and The Conscience of The Constitution: The Declaration of Independence And The Right to Liberty, which will appear in 2014. He has also published more than 45 scholarly articles on subjects ranging from property rights and economic freedom to intellectual property, evolution and creationism, slavery and the Civil War, and the political philosophy of Shakespeare and ancient Greek literature. He blogs at Freespace.

Listen or Download:


  • Occupational licensing
  • Litigating cases of occupational licensing
  • The source of licensing regulations
  • The history of licensing regulations, particularly in California
  • The casket industry and economic protectionism
  • The bias against the underdog
  • Burdens on rights
  • Conservatives on occupational licensing
  • Judicial restraint versus activism
  • The rationale for occupational licensing
  • The alternative of private market licenses
  • Its actual effects of occupational licensing, particularly on the poor and entrepreneurs
  • The right to earn a living
  • The history of medical licensing
  • Certificates of Need
  • The work of the Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Forthcoming book: “The Conscience of the Constitution”
  • Article: “Love and Solipsism”


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