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The Future of the ProfessionsHow Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts$
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Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713395

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198713395.001.0001

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the grand bargain

the grand bargain

Chapter:
1 (p.8) (p.9) the grand bargain
Source:
The Future of the Professions
Author(s):

Richard Susskind

Daniel Susskind

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198713395.003.0009

There are two possible futures for the professions. The first is reassuringly familiar. It is a more efficient version of what we already have today. On this model, professionals continue working much as they have done since the middle of the nineteenth century, but they heavily standardize and systematize their routine activities. They streamline their old ways of working. The second future is a very different proposition. It involves a transformation in the way that the expertise of professionals is made available in society. The introduction of a wide range of increasingly capable systems will, in various ways, displace much of the work of traditional professionals. In the short and medium terms, these two futures will be realized in parallel. In the long run, the second future will dominate, we will find new and better ways to share expertise in society, and our professions will steadily be dismantled. That is the conclusion to which this book leads. The first step in our argument involves taking stock of the professions we currently have. We do this, in this opening chapter, to provide a foundation of solid thinking about the professions—about their purpose and common features, their strengths and weaknesses—upon which we build later. We start by sketching an informal portrait of today’s professions. We follow this with a more systematic attempt to explain which occupational groups belong to the professions and why. We then discuss the history of the professions and look at the ‘grand bargain’, the traditional arrangement that grants professionals both their special status and their monopolies over numerous areas of human activity. Next, we reflect on various theoretical accounts of the professions, which leads us to identify a series of fundamental problems with our professions as currently organized. We close with a call for a new mindset, and point to a series of biases that are likely to inhibit professionals from thinking freely about their future. To set off at an easy pace, we begin with a set of non-theoretical, everyday views about the professions. On reflection, most people would say that the professions are at the heart of our social and working lives.

Keywords:   alternatives, biases, collective, doctors, economists, fallacy, gatekeepers, health, jargon, knowledge

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