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Archiver > APG > 2009-05 > 1241728031

From: Ray Beere Johnson II <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Profession and "Consumer Protection"
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 13:27:11 -0700 (PDT)

Before I begin, let me make one thing clear. I am very well aware that most people truly believe in whatever they say - even when they have other motives as well. It is not my intention to accuse anyone of deliberately falsifying their motives.
However, I'd like to point out a few facts.
1: The first relentless pressure to become a "sovereign" profession was sparked by a question of list members that asked if they were _earning_ enough.
2: Any regulated profession, self-regulated or not, tends to command higher rates.
3: Self-regulated professions command even higher rates than government regulated ones.
4: Despite claims to the contrary, social indications are that consumers do _NOT_ feel protected at all by the self-regulation of lawyers and doctors. News stories of incompetent doctors and lawyers reveal that self-regulation does not in any way ensure charlatans, incompetents, and swindlers are unable to victimise consumers. For further indications of public feeling, note: lawyer jokes, often barbed enough to indicate the real bitterness people feel over being forced to deal with over-priced, self-regulated individuals who do _NOT_ leave them satisfied, and the movement of many people towards _alternative_ medicine - the very areas that are not self-regulated, or are at best only lightly so.
5: Self-regulation means that those who do cheat the consumer will be judged by their colleagues - and only the least "politically" savvy will fail to elicit enough sympathy to remain in the profession, often without real sanctions at all. Research into accusations against doctors and lawyers reveals this - like anyone else, they are easily manipulated by the "us vs. them" myth. I am not suggesting most of them are bad people - I am suggesting it is a bad dynamic.
These facts convince me, as a consumer, that regulation of any profession will not protect me at all - it will only lead to my being charged far more for the same level of service. If any regulation is necesssary, I would rather see the government impose regulations - at least then, _consumers_ as well as "professionals" can have input into the process. I had hoped this issue would die down - but, since some list members persist in pressing for what I consider to be a conclusion that will benefit them at the expense of most if not all consumers, the only solution I can imagine is for those who understand just how badly such a development will damage the reputation of genealogy - to say nothing about the harm it will do to interest in genealogy (if prices are artificially driven up - most of us do not _have_ to trace our family trees, as we have to deal with our health and legal issues) to organise, to educate consumers, and to urge that every
consumer boycott individuals and companies who insist on pressing forward on a course which is so completely against their interests.
Yes, that is a drastic step, but as a consumer, I consider it my only remaining option if I am ever to have any hope of pursuing additional research into my family in areas where I cannot conduct the research myself.
Ray Beere Johnson II

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