Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)

Timothy Sandefur on Occupational Licensing Versus the Right to Earn a Living

Radio Interview: 2 October 2013

I interviewed Timothy Sandefur on "Occupational Licensing Versus the Right to Earn a Living" on 2 October 2013. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.

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.

Tags: Business, Constitution, History, Law, Politics, Regulations, Work


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  • Duration: 1:07:34
  • Download: MP3 File (23.2 MB)

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About the Podcast

The topics covered in this episode were:
  • 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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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.

From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.

You can listen to these 362 podcasts by subscribing to the Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.

You can also read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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