Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

a bus/train needs a driver who understands how to operate the bus/train, but we don't call him/her an "elite"... to get the most out of a patch of land sustainably requires years of experience and deep knowledge of the local bioregion, but do we ever call farmers "elite"?  I've heard it said that it takes a lifetime to learn how to grow really good varietal garlic, or to make proper versions of certain wines and cheeses.  are those artisans an "elite"?

it's time we took a closer look at why some people's specialised knowledge makes them "elite" and other people's specialised knowledge makes them, well, less important and more expendable.

in general, specialised knowledge is called "elite" when the owners of that knowledge are able to enforce or encourage other people's dependence on that knowledge.  there was a time when people who understood programming were an elite (ah, I remember it well);  now, teenagers write code in their spare time that 50 years ago would only have been attempted by serious men (yup, almost exclusively) in ties, with college degrees.  some of those teenagers now imagine themselves to be an elite, but that day is passing real fast also.  and that's a good thing imho, no matter how much fun it was when I was younger to be one of the arcane order of wizards.

imho the whole concept of Professional vs other skilled trades [and is there any such thing as an unskilled trade?  certainly the demoralisation of deskilled workers suggests that if there is, there shouldn't be] needs to be re-evaluated and deconstructed.  it has too many overtones of both priesthood and aristocracy, and we all know the Meslier quote, yes?

call me a Caste Traitor, but speakin' as a highly paid senior professional, I have serious doubts about Professionalism and the whole concept of credentialled elites.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a topic I think about a lot, whenever I try to untangle my value added in the deals I work on. I'm probably the best paid person working on these, but does that reflect the work done. At times, I feel like I'm just watching others work and signing off on that work. The power to get a EUR 100M check signed is "worth" something to others, typical gatekeeper power, right? And yet... On some deals I know that someone else could have done it fairly easily; on others, I do believe that I created something worthwhile. The first offshore wind farm I worked on would not have been built without the financing, and I essentially invented big parts of the whole financial structure, with a couple of other people, to make it acceptable to all the relevant entities that signed off on it. So how much is that "worth", beyond the fact that having the hand on the till, I can heavily influence the price paid for it?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series