While states will tell consumers that the purpose of an occupational license is to ensure consumer safety and a basic level of knowledge before entering the workplace, anyone who has gone through the process knows that these licenses limit market competition.
Arizona is paving the way for worker freedom by recognizing occupational licenses issued from other states. This is a win for Arizona’s economy since workers from around the country will see this as an expanded chance for economic opportunity.
While this is something to be celebrated, this legislation granting license reciprocity only goes so far in terms of labor freedom. More often than not, occupational licenses are purposefully expensive and can take a long time to secure.
This often prevents workers from earning them in order to protect existing businesses. This model still does not guarantee the quality, only competency and the ability to afford to pay the necessary fees associated with the license they are trying to obtain.
In a free market, the consumer is the ultimate check over a producer and service provider’s reputation. What is the importance of a license if one worker is efficient at their job and the other is inadequate? Ultimately skill and reputation is the best determiner of quality amongst consumers.
Lastly, far too many career paths which you would never assume require occupational licenses. From hair braiding to bartenders and real estate agents, licenses limit the potential for people willing to work to enter the workplace, and the license ultimately says nothing about their quality as an employee.
While free market supporters should cheer for this step in the right direction, there is still work to be done to empower workers and allow people of all socioeconomic classes the opportunity to pursue whatever career paths they choose.