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The Lowering Of Professional Standards In America

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Chapter Summary

To learn the state of professional standards in America is to learn much about the prospects for successful social reforms. In this chapter, the author summarizes some of the problems, particularly the tendencies toward foolish ritualism and image-management rather than competence that dogs all the major professions nowadays, and in many parts of the world. In social terms, professionals are increasingly businesspeople whose source of respectability is no longer any sense of honor, but merely the showing off of their wealth. To reintroduce standards is to reintroduce a sense of community among both producers and buyers of culture, which is essentially the only way a market mechanism can work. In actuality cultural standards and institutional interests usually rule. In general American culture lends itself toward anti-intellectualism and reliance on formula that it is hoped works in a society which is anonymous and where people don't communicate with much depth.

Keywords: American culture; foolish ritualism; image-management; professional standards

10.1163/ej.9789004190276.i-398.23
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