A Side Note About Licensing
Since James and the good Doctor are engaging in multiple good discussions about licensing and rents, I thought I’d throw a side note out there that isn’t being discussed in the (quite good, by the way) comment threads.
There is one important function of licensing that neither the Doctor nor the Doctor (not M.D.) have mentioned.
Licensing performs all the functions that James and Russell mention: it provides a proxy for the consumer to judge competency, it ensures baseline skill levels, it provides a barrier to entry into the profession. All those things are true… but in addition, it changes the power balance between the licensed profession and the employer… and, I’d argue, in a very significant way.
If you work for a limited liability corporation, or any employer, really, your employer can march into your office and say, “That thing you’re doing? Don’t do it that way. Do it this way.”
From a practical standpoint, there isn’t much you can do in this sort of arrangement except (a) do what your employer wants or (b) risk getting discharged.
However, it is entirely possible that your direct employer can march into your office and say, “That thing you’re doing? Don’t do it that way. Do it this way”… when “this” way is charitably arguably illegal or unethical.
The presence of a professional license gives the attorney, doctor, engineer, architect, etc., to put their professional obligation in front of the (usually profit motivated) desire of the employer. “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that… and in addition, you’d never be able to hire a (doctor, attorney, engineer, architect) who would do that for you, because if they did, they could lose their professional license and never again be able to work in their field.”