Regulations such as licensing regimes often negatively impact women and minorities and can deter entrepreneurship in low-income communities. Occupational licensing costs the average licensee $209 and requires nine months of education. Such regimes affect not just traditionally licensed occupations such as doctor and lawyer; nearly 30 percent of the national workforce needs a license to work. Both historical context and research on contemporary restrictions show that such requirement have a negative impact on women and minorities entering licensed fields.
To foster diversity in technology, America should encourage the next generation to embrace the freedom to innovate; instead, however, young people often face many government barriers that could discourage them from innovating. “Evasive” entrepreneurs behind products many consumers have rapidly embraced, such as ridesharing, homesharing, and dockless scooters, have found themselves faced with costly lawsuits, cease and desist orders, and governments attempting to shoehorn them into existing regulatory schemes. Such efforts prevent innovative alternatives from replacing existing incumbents and limit choices to consumers. Even children may find their lawnmowing business or lemonade stands closed down for failing to comply with licensing requirements. Rather than teaching all children to embrace their entrepreneurial passions and innovate, such requirements instead discourage them by requiring burdensome permission first.
The freedom to innovate has made America place where many of its greatest innovators start from humble beginnings and trillion-dollar companies are begun in a garage. Rather than use regulations, America should look at how to encourage more innovation across communities by removing barriers to entrepreneurship, both online and offline.
The Free Exchange of Ideas is Valuable and Creates Opportunities to Hear All Voices
One great benefit of the internet has been to allow increasing numbers of people to share their points of view with the world and to allow marginalized groups be heard. While such a broad marketplace of ideas may at times pose challenges and lead to difficult decisions for technology companies trying to navigate discordant cultural values, it is important to maintain the free exchange of ideas online. Free speech is not a partisan issue.
Regulations could prevent the exchange of information or ideas. For example, residents in European countries covered by the General Data Protection Regulation can no longer access US newspapers online. State regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act could similarly harm the ability of Californians to access varied viewpoints and information when companies are forced to decide between withdrawing their service or paying the millions of dollars in compliance costs.