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Commercialism has become one of the defining features of development in many professions. In other words, professionals in almost all fields and domains are becoming more profit-oriented. Everyone wants to earn more. Everyone wants to sell his or her knowledge and skills to improve social status and well-being. Professions are considered as more prestigious when they bring more money. Consequently, it is better to be a lawyer, surgeon, auditor or financial consultant than a waiter, cleaner, or driver. Commercialism changes the nature of most, if not all, professions. On the one hand, professionals seek to raise the standards of their practice to ensure that their services bring higher financial results. On the other hand, commercialism is believed to be particularly damaging to professional ethics. Clearly, commercialism is about money, while professionalism is about serving people. Therefore, modern professionals should find a reasonable balance of profits and ethics, which will help them preserve their professional image while promoting their financial well-being.
Commercialism is believed to be impacting all aspects of professional development in all fields of human performance. Professionals have become very profit-oriented, and everyone wants to earn more. In the media professions, journalists keep hunting for sensations, which promise unbelievable profits (Morrison). In public accounting and health care, educated professionals develop new services for their customers and propose new practices to take the advantage of the huge funds available in these industries (Day 165). Legal professionals have become particularly profitable with the advent of business and commercialism. Today's lawyers earn millions of dollars for their services, thus making their profession look even more prestigious. Present-day adolescents choose those professions, which are potentially profitable. They enter higher educational institutions knowing that it will make them financially stable in the long run. Unfortunately, commercialism is starting to replace professionalism, thus raising the concern for ethics, compliance, quality, and public service in all professions.
The causes of commercialism are rooted in the new public mentality, which places special emphasis on the material values. In other words, the society has become extremely materialistic, and commercialism is a reflection of these trends. Yet, modern professionals and researchers are extremely worried about the future of professionalism and the negative impacts of commercialism on various professions. James Morrison writes that in the field of journalism, the emergence of market-driven values has created an atmosphere of competition, where journalists and media companies are fighting for a piece of the financial cake. Not less serious are the commercialism problems in health care "The current focus on money making and the seductions of monetary reward have changed the climate in U.S. medical practice at the expense of professional altruism and the moral commitment to one's patients" (Day 166). With the growing amount of money in the medical field, professionals have become less attentive to their moral responsibilities and functions, while being increasingly preoccupied with money-making process. As a result, medical professionals have lost the image of public servants.
Certainly, the fact that professions have a commercial and economic value should not be ignored. Everyone deserves to receive a fair salary for his or her professionalism and commitment to work. Every professional has the right to make a profit, but only as long as profit motives, he or she should not violate the core professional values. Day is right about the idea that when self-interested financial gains replace the value of patients' health in medicine, the healthcare provider violates his or her responsibility to the public. The situation in law is quite similar: justice is the greatest asset and most valuable interest of all people on earth (Wisconsin Supreme Court 2). Therefore, when legal professionals are running for money instead of pursuing the principles of justice and professional responsibility, they can hardly be considered as professionals.
The main question is what can be done to reduce the threats of commercialism to professionalism in all human domains. Apparently, modern professionals should find a reasonable balance of profits and ethics, which will help them preserve their professional image while also promoting their financial well-being. Achieving this balance is possible by: (1) developing and implementing ethics policies and standards of practice; (2) providing professionals with fair salary and earning opportunities. At the same time, the public philosophy of professionalism should change. Commercialism should not be viewed as the source of negative professional influences. Jason Morrison writes that the decline of professionalism due to commercialism is neither good nor bad. Nevertheless, it is a very complex change that encompasses numerous processes and influences, which change public attitudes towards various professions. While professionals in various domains should learn to balance their financial and ethics priorities, the public should also realize that although a profession is not a business, it still has economic value. The material needs of professionals should not be undervalued, thus enabling public servants to provide for their own and their families' living.
Commercialism is replacing professionalism. In many professions, ethics and community service priorities give place to profitability concerns. Today, professionals should find an optimal balance of the financial and professional concerns. Codes of ethics and fair earning opportunities can guarantee the provision of quality services in various professional fields. Still, the economic value of profession should not be ignored. A profession is not a business, but professionals need money to meet their basic daily needs. The society should learn to recognize and satisfy the material needs of professionals, so that they are able to provide for their own and their families’ well-being.