A few weeks ago regular reader John Zande shared with us his appreciation of the word “guild”. In medieval Europe guilds were professional associations and people who wanted to practice a certain profession were required to join a guild.
Guilds had high entrance requirements and also provided vocational education. After passing an exam one could become a full member of the guild or master.
Now we do not intend to reintroduce this medieval institution. However we favour the establishment of “guilds” for protected professions, i.e. occupations for which the government has regulated its practitioners. This would include, for instance, lawyers, medical practitioners, accountants, real estate makers and dentists.
Organizationally guilds are comparable with voluntary associations in that they are run by their members. But unlike VAs guilds will be established by law and membership is compulsory.
The main functions of guilds are permanent education for their members, supervision of their professional field, imposing disciplinary measures against malpractitioners, and to represent the profession to others (the public and the government).