Licensing, Irony, and Ignorance
is a recent book (2012-17) by Frank Groffie questioning whether geologists should be licensed by the state
and written specifically for an audience of North American engineering geologists and
• engineering geologists in general
• geologists wherever they work across the globe
• civil engineers and medical professionals
• other professionals and workers in occupations who practice under state regulations or may soon be required to
• legislators desiring guidance
• scholars, thinkers, and writers who explore the topic of professional freedom and human flourishing
• consumer advocates who question the effectiveness of professional licensing.
Its 277 pages, including 246 references, cover these topics
Philosophy. Specifically ethicopolitical philosophy. How licensing is actually unethical while it attempts to address the issue of practice of geology by the unqualified. What many philosophers have said regarding the ethics of professional licensing.
Economics. How the many common social forces, functions, and institutions we are familiar with maintain high quality levels of professional practice in the absence of licensing. How licensing harms consumers. Who the many economists and other social scientists are (Nobel laureates among them) who make these assertions, how they have analyzed the issue, and what they have published by the dozens in monographs, anthologies, and papers in highly regarded, peer-reviewed journals in their fields.
Motives. How professionals harbor self-serving motives when promoting licensing, how they use their overpowering professional organizations and highly paid lobbyists to advance licensing in their respective state legislative chambers, and why the little consumer never gets involved.
Constitutional law. What we can learn about professional licensing from various decisions of the U.S. supreme court and writings by its justices, and what other thinkers have said on the propriety of professional licensing.
Paradoxes. How the impulses behind licensing boomerang or, in knot-like fashion, twist back on themselves when considering grandfather clauses, oversight, professionalism, informational asymmetries, licensing of associated professions, and even the purpose of licensing itself.
More. Historical events and trends leading up to professional licensing in California (1950s through 1970s) and across much of the U.S.. How Europe does well without the North American style of licensing of professionals. Case histories in the upper margins of geologic practice. How leaders of North American engineering geologists have misguided their followers. And what we really need to study when analyzing licensing of professionals.