Yet, occupational licensing still flourishes, with states and municipalities licensing anything that moves for anything at all.
Licensing usually starts before the business starts to get any money, as a condition to even try to sell products or services.
Of course, under these conditions, only people who already have money can afford paying for the license (and training and documentation needed to obtain it) up front, before any income from the business has started to come in.
And, of course, for people who do not have money and cannot, thus, engage in an honest business, because they cannot afford a license fee, the only way, other than to get a job (which may or may not be possible in the current economy), there is another alternative - steal and rob. Violent crime.
The easiest thing for a poor person, or an immigrant without any language, to do, is to either cook authentic ethnic food, or sell items he produces or resells from others.
And, both of these professions are licensed.
In New York City, for example, which prides itself on protection of civil rights of immigrants, criminal convictions for the following "criminal conduct":
- "On February 14, 2012, defendant was arrested for selling a DVD to an unidentified person on Victory Boulevard in Staten Island";
- "selling T-shirts in Union Square Park" (this is a New York State Court of Appeals case, the highest court of the State of New York affirmed this nonsense in 2013);
- "offered for sale condoms on a street corner near Times Square";
- "display[ed] and offer[ed] for sale 10 sunglasses," and "show[ed] the merchandise to numerous people"; or
- "standing in a Union Square crosswalk as it began to rain, "right next to" a metal pushcart upon which he arranged and displayed umbrellas".
- a DVD;
- sunglasses, or
- umbrellas - during rain - is a crime in New York City.
Is it worth the effort and expense to put together the necessary paperwork?
It can be a one-time deal, and it will surely be less than a yearly license fee.
New York City Hall is not flexible in this respect.
It does not sell one-day, one-week, one-month or similar short-term licenses - only a yearly license.
And, of course, a rich person will not be risking a criminal conviction for selling several T-shirts - only a poor person will consider earning several dollars worth that risk.
The risk that, as the cases I referenced above, shows, is real - New York City vigorously prosecutes those who still try to earn a living by selling stuff - without a license that they cannot afford.
Nothing like criminalizing poverty.
So, the next time you are mugged, robbed, stolen from, pick-pocketed, jumped, in New York City - ask the City Hall, why do they are they so vigorously, and stupidly, trying to prevent poor people from honestly earning a living.