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Certification Culture

A while back, @JamesAltucher tweeted that "Certification Culture is going to END. I was talking to a lawyer and giving him some advice based on real experience. He said sarcastically, 'I guess I should just give you my law degree I worked 3 years for.' I don't want your law degree and I don't need it."

At the time I disagreed, somewhat in a knee-jerk fashion, but also because I was coming across things in my own professional life that made it seem like certifications were on the increase. So I guess I'll just debate myself here: Be it resolved that Certification Culture is going to end.

    1. Pro: Home Schooling

    The practice of educating children at home has only been on the rise lately, and was greatly accelerated during the pandemic. Learning pods are small scale classroom learning groups, or the parents teach their own kids. Advocates of this method obviously place more value on the actual lessons learned than any piece of paper that an institution can provide.

    2. Pro: Worldschooling

    This is related, but these families educate their children through travel experiences in a highly nomadic fashion.

    3. Con: Post-Secondary Education

    Law. Medicine. Engineering. Accounting. These (and a few more that I haven't thought of) are professions that start with admission to an 'accredited university (or other such institution - emphasis on accredited). I'm not sure how the homeschool crowd breaks this barrier, or whether they simply eschew these professions. Professions which are necessary.

    4. Con: Licencing

    I was recently tagged for a safety violation on gas-powered equipment. It's taken a while to get it cleared, but ultimately what got it done was when I got it addressed by a licenced technician. You may know a guy who knows 10 times more about plumbing than a newly licenced plumber, but your insurance company won't take your word for it. That goes for health & wellness practitioners too.

    5. Pro: Blockchain

    If experience were recorded on the Blockchain (and this technology is ever on the increase) an example like James' could be resolved more easily. James' experience might be able to outweigh the lawyer's education in a quantifiable and undisputable way.

    6. Con: Regulation

    Safety first. In any kind of construction or infrastructure, we want to know that it is safely built and the public is not at risk of injury or death when making use of it. Certification and regulation are not the same concepts, but they are interrelated, as a regulation usually relies on someone or something being certified.

    7. Pro: Innovation and Progress

    The 45th president of the United States gained a lot of traction in his election by promising to reduce regulation: “I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”. His candidacy itself is proof of a decreasing faith in certification culture, as most presidential candidates' backgrounds were more rooted in law and/or governmental backgrounds.

    8. Con: Anti-Science

    On any issue that is currently being debated in the public sphere (though mostly the COVID-related ones), we've seen both sides claim that "the science" backs them up. Usually, it's a study or article, so what always remains is to dig deeper: was the study peer-reviewed? If so, what counts as a "peer"? Who conducted the research? The exercise of authenticating the validity of the data and what its conclusions actually are become one of... certification.

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