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2021.10.18

Certification and Credibility

Can you prove what you claim?

Do you fully trust in 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 do a thing for another. You simply have to give a bit of trust in others. If not the if we should trust, the problem lies on how.

Source of Trust

The primary source of trust are 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, 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 you do not have the time to gain it organically nor cannot “fabricate” the trust? The solution lies on a already trusted third parties vouching, a…

Certification

Someone that you trust can vouch, 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 certificate that you master it.

Double Agent

Certification agents must be impartial, indifferent from your own 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 trust.

  • Accounting firms hired to validate a client company financial health might be interested in lying. The at-the-time famous Arthur Andersen participated in a giant fraud stating that it’s client’s, Enron, finances was ok. Enron bankrupted months later and AA was suited and had to slipt in two companies.
  • The 2008 financial crisis also can be attributed to rating companies, that 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 own processes have to be constantly certified, creating a big process of checks and balances.

It’s a worthwhile initiative for the whole society.

Post originally written in 2015-11-05. But was in draft mode by mistake for all these years.

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