The first part of this article can be reached here.
Someone asked me: “Would you hire an unlicensed engineer even though he has suitable knowledge?”
Even though?? Sure, I would hire an unlicensed engineer if he has suitable knowledge! Why shouldn't I? In fact, the only principle condition for me to hire anybody is if and only if s/he has suitable knowledge. Then would come the humanity, empathy and sympathy part. And then the price of it.
While I am at it, let me make a confession here. I hold a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. And not from any ordinary university but from the best or if you want let's say one of the best universities in Turkey. I even went as far as writing the proposal for the doctorate thesis. I could have registered as a Mechanical Engineer and worked in the field had I opted to do so. I hold that degree. Even after being away from that world so many years I still can solve some problems and understand maths too. On the other hand, I'm sure an ordinary mechanic knows much more than me, understands how engine parts work much better than me. And I have to say I don't take this personally, I don't think this only goes for me. It's true for most people graduating from universities. Most graduate without learning much about how things work in real life. So sorry, diplomas and/or licenses do not show the capacity and/or capability of a person to me.
“Would you take your child to an unlicensed MD?” she went on.
Thank God I did not need to take my child to the doctor much but if there was a person with deep knowledge in the field, the knowledge coming from a cultural heritage, from experience, I could prefer to take my child to him/her instead of a traditionally trained doctor. Plus, the question is not that. I WOULDN'T take my child to MOST of the "licensed" MD's either. I WOULDN'T take my child to anybody just because they have a license. That's my point.
I am generally very selective. As I do not like or approve of people so easily, I cannot put my benchmark or criterion as “someone who has a license.” I research, both the topic at hand and the person, I ask questions and try them. If I am not satisfied, I don't go along with their prescriptions and move on to another doctor.
Okay, everybody is not like me. Some people do not want to choose themselves. After all, it is a demanding task, takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Or people may believe they do not have enough knowledge to judge someone themselves. So they may prefer to go for licensed people. Fine. I'm not saying that there should not be any certifications or chambers. All I'm saying is that people should not be forced to get licenses. Let people know there are licensed guides/doctors/engineers etc. and unlicensed ones. Tell them what the difference between the two is. I may want to take my chance with an unlicensed guide/doctor/engineer... If I do, I take the responsibility too.
The Situation In Medicine
I knew that in Turkey, guides needed to attend two seminars a year apart from paying the fee to their chamber. I wondered how it worked for doctors. I consulted a doctor friend. He said there were no seminars to be attended; there was no need for registration for the doctors working for the government, but those that worked privately needed to register by paying a fee.
I had thought it would be the opposite. That those working for the government would be obliged to register to the Association of Doctors, those who worked private not. Perhaps it makes sense when you think about it. When you work for the government, you've been approved; the privates need to be kept under control ;) Still... It's hard for me to understand. Even if you work privately, let's say you registered once and you certified your diploma. Why the need for renewing membership every year? Information gets stale, okay. But what's the registration renewal for when there is no sign of information being updated? Does paper get stale too? I mean paper crumbles of course, but generally not in the lifetime of a person. After all, they are not testing the doctors and giving out new diplomas.
In the meantime I found out from the website of the Association of Turkish Doctors (TTB-Türk Tabipleri Birliği) that many doctors that had no obligation to register were members. So apparently people find a reason to become members of an association. Fine.
My doctor friend went on: “I agree to the end on people's freedom of choice, yet I believe that licenses are necessary in some fields. There are many people who influence public health adversely.”
Of course if he says “yet I believe that licenses are necessary in some fields”, this implies he does not agree to the end on the freedom of choice. But when he says “There are many people who influence public health adversely,” he is supporting my thesis. Medicine is a profession subject to license. But obviously, license obligation is not enough to prevent quacks. Plus, I believe there are many bad apples among the licensed ones. And until there are enough qualified quality people trained, people will unfortunately need to deal with unlicensed and licensed bad apples. Or, this will go on until people attain the faculty to make smart choices.
My friend gave me the counter-example of unlicensed dentists in a small rural village in Turkey who were much more successful than the licensed ones. These lay people were quite adapt and successful on dental treatment. People preferred to go to them instead of the “real” dentists and were quite content. “There are such exceptional examples too,” he said.
Kırıkhan was famous for its “dentists.” Dentistry was the symbol of the town throughout history. They had many customers coming from abroad, mostly from the Middle East. The five hotels in town were full of these customers. Then licensed dentists declared war on the unlicensed, now only two hotels remained and those were without jobs.
The representive of the Turkish Dentists Association declared “We cannot stay silent that lay dentists do dental treatment with methods they learnt from ancestors when there are hundreds, even thousands of licensed dentists wait for patients in their offices.”
His trouble is exactly that the “lay” are getting the job while the “schooled” being out of job. That's what he cannot stand silent about. He does not mention anything about the lay making a bad job, affecting public health adversely. No. Because he knows these lay men are good at their jobs.
“Now there are the experts of the job. If we express ourselves well, if we show that we do this job not with methods seen from ancestors but by what medicine shows, we again will get customers from within and outside the country. And that will reflect on the town economy positively,” he says. Ah, you first deal a blow on an economy that is going quite well, then you try to bring in your economy. What kind of a crooked logic is this?
Then there is the “street dentistry”.: which wikipedia defines as “the unlicensed practice of dentistry in the street, usually for people who are unable to afford licensed dental care.”
Here there are no four-walls around, doctor's office is out in the air. No need for flexible surgical lights to investigate your mouth, there is daylight. No need to get an appointment either. Just drop by when you are passing by. Grab yourself a stool and accommodate your buttocks. Indian Pyara Singh says “The only difference between the rich doctors and us is that they have fancy chairs, fan, servants, x-ray and other gadgets. They take a lot of money. Normal people can’t afford that.”
It's not only these of course. These street dentists do not have "fancy" medical names for every problem in your mouth either. I have to say they do not seem to have much hygiene either. No sterilized gloves, no mouth covering masks, they wipe their hands on their pants and get going. On the other hand, I read that they use clove oil to numb the needle and it's “amazing”. Something better than pharmaceutical stuff.
Apparently street dentistry is not practiced only in India, Pakistan or China, police got 23 unlicensed dentists from the streets of Paris in 2003. They were not Parisians of course. Neither the “dentists” nor the patients. They were Syrian immigrants who provided services for other immigrants.
At this point, let me ask and answer myself:
Would I ever go for those street dentists? Nopes. I don't think so.
Would I have gone to the dentists in Kırıkhan? Mmh. I could have done so.
Do I think it's fair or it's a duty of the government to ban those Syrian street dentists? I don't think so. If you provide free dental care to all those who need it, you are welcome to do it. Otherwise, I personally do not believe you have a right to interfere with the free interaction of people.
To Sum It Up
I asked an engineer friend of mine too. He said he only registered to the chamber so that he could sign projects etc. He never needed it. He pays an annual fee. It's very low actually. About 50 Euros. But he's been paying it for 25 years now. Why? Could someone please tell me? If at all, we should be "obliged" to pay such money to the needy children/women of the world, not organizations.
To get back to the topic on guides... I have taken many "guides" while travelling the world. In most places, I doubt there were licensed guides at all. Still... I had no problem with anybody. Sure, there probably were cases where I felt cheated, where I felt bad about the experience but I have to make one thing clear: This even goes to the agencies approved by the ministry... When it comes to human relationships, you cannot guarantee anything. People are so different in their tastes and expectations. There are many people who are not satisfied with their experiences involving "licensed" agencies and "licensed" guides. And you can extrapolate this to every field you wish! When it comes to anything to do with humans, there will always be those who are content and those who are not. Therefore there cannot be any sharp benchmark for this.
As per above explained reasons, I am against any form of license enforced by a government, or the state as someone corrected me. (Excuse my ignorance on the topic; to me, state and government amount to the same thing. I mostly use "government" in general to mean that ruling authority. After all it is the governing force and emphasizes that word: Govern.) Did I make myself clear or do I need to repeat? I am NOT against licenses. I am against licenses enforced by a government. I am against people being obliged to get licenses to exercise some profession. I am against governments taking the freedom of choice off of the hands of people and trying to regulate everything.
And most of all, I am against the “Illegal” argument. I am against saying “Forbidden my fellow citizens,” I am against making propaganda with “This is against the law, against the law,” as if man-made laws of today are the one and only ultimate truth.
Please come up with a better argument next time.