Certification and Credibility
Can you prove what you claim?
Do you fully trust the media, banks, or advertisements? I bet you don’t. And you shouldn’t. Not blindly. Trusting is a very delicate matter.
By living in a society you are required to trust other people. That’s the way to share the responsibilities. Each individual does a thing for another. You simply have to give a bit of trust in others. If not if we should trust, the problem lies in how.
Source of Trust
The primary source of trust is the individuals themselves. You gain trust by living and presenting reliable results. It takes time.
Governments, on the other hand, use the power of law to reinforce what they want to be believed. They issue money, and certificates, documents and they all MUST be accepted as they were the truth. What makes you believe that a $100 bill is worth the $100? Simple: the law says it so!
If you need to be trusted but do not have the time to gain it organically nor cannot “fabricate” the trust? The solution lies on an already trusted third party vouching, a…
Someone that you trust can vouch, and give their word, for another one. That works like a web of trust. I trust my mom, that trusts her old friend. So, I might trust her too.
Language and professional certifications are the most common form. Several institutes, for a very diverse range of fields, can issue a certificate saying that you are good as you claim. Proficiency in Mandarin? Project management? Someone can certify that you master it.
Certification agents must be impartial, and indifferent to your success derived from the certification, otherwise, they might be incentivized to lie for you. It breaks the whole point of the certification as source of the trust.
- Accounting firms hired to validate a client company’s financial health might be interested in lying. The at-the-time famous Arthur Andersen participated in a giant fraud stating that its client’s, Enron, finances were ok. Enron bankrupted months later and AA was suited and had to split into two companies.
- The 2008 financial crisis also can be attributed to rating companies, which stated that several risky bonds were good and risk-free. They help clients to sell them to others, profiting from lying.
- Some colleges graduate their students even when they have really bad grades. Flooding the market with awful professionals, it becomes impossible to assert which one is good and which one is bad.
There are several good certification institutes. But these authorities have to be constantly monitored. Also, their processes have to be constantly certified, creating a big process of checks and balances.
It’s a worthwhile initiative for the whole of society.
This post was originally written on 2015-11-05. But was in draft mode by mistake for all these years.