Specialization often leads to large improvements in productive efficiency; it also leads to expertise. Someone who is specialized in a task will develop a knowledge of it which is deeper than the knowledge of those who are not specialized experts. But this difference in knowledge may cause problems as well as promising greater productivity in the production of goods, services, and knowledge.  Here are some questions to reflect on. Choose one and answer it.

1. If a specialized expert gives you advice (about where to invest your money, how to exercise, what to major in), how do you know you they know what they are talking about?  How do you know you can trust them? Maybe they are incompetent, or are taking advantage of their ‘expertise’ to sell you something you don’t need. If they are certified in some way, how do you know the institution that certifies them is trustworthy?

2. Government agencies often appeal to “experts” (who specialize in areas of knowledge and analysis) in formulating policies and regulations. To what extent should we allow experts to determine what government policy should be? Is there a conflict between democracy (which requires a certain amount of equality in decision making) and “rule by experts?”