The Decline of Professionalism
33 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2016 Last revised: 2 Oct 2016
Date Written: July 7, 2016
Traditionally, professionalism conceived of the professions as central to democratic society. Because professionals gained their status through reputation not wealth, they were in the best position to suppress their own self-interest in order to ascertain and pursue the public good. This Article argues that this traditional understanding of the professions was lost as a market ideology took hold in the 1970s. Professionalism gradually became synonymous with the delivery of services. This Article draws on this intellectual history to argue that aspects of the traditional concept of professionalism can and should be revived today.
Keywords: professionalism, legal history, intellectual history, profession, professional ethics, future of the profession
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