Re: Professionalism. Unclassified (long)

Subject: Re: Professionalism. Unclassified (long)
From: Vicki Rosenzweig <murphy!acmcr!vr -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 09:24:34 EDT

Simon North's comment, and particularly the example of doctors,
brings a couple of questions to my mind. Looking at groups that
are generally considered professionals--doctors and lawyers in
particular--I have real doubts that they practice primarily for
society rather than for themselves, and am sure that the reward
system is _not_ primarily symbolic. If it were, poor neighborhoods
wouldn't be begging for GPs while there's a surplus of plastic
surgeons. One of the things that happened when the AMA defined
medicine as a "profession" (with the force of law behind it) is
that they successfully drove their competition out of business.
Suddenly, you needed to be a physician to help a woman deliver
her baby, even though midwives were doing at least as good a
job. I'm not sure there's an analogy to technical communication,
but if there is, do we want to drive away skilled practitioners
because they learned from the wrong people?

Vicki Rosenzweig
vr%acmcr -dot- uucp -at- murphy -dot- com

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