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October 2, 1996

Death of the Guilds: Professions, States, and the Advance of Capitalism, 1930 to the Present

Author Affiliations

Philadelphia, Pa

JAMA. 1996;276(13):1088-1089. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540130086036

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Elliott Krause has certainly produced an illuminating book, particularly for physicians bewildered by the hostility of social forces currently besieging them. This might even be an important classic, depending on how many of the ideas are new with Professor Krause and how many are already circulating in his field. Your reviewer is too unfamiliar with sociology literature to be sure.

The author seemingly changed emphasis while writing the book. The underlying design is to test four professions in five different countries, with 20 vignettes, against a thesis that professions are shaped by the style of theirnational government, particularly the relative dominance of corporate business. Such cultural entertainment does enable physicians to chat knowledgeably with engineers, lawyers, and university professors at a party, or a tourist to understand more about the countries he visits than just the restaurants and museums that happen to be open.

But the emerging central subject of