A profession exists to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of specialization. Driving a race car requires special training-race car drivers are professionals. Driving an ordinary car, though, doesn’t require the driver to belong to a particular profession, because it’s easy enough that most adults can do it with a modicum of training. Most professions exist because there is a scarce resource that requires ongoing management: librarians are responsible for organizing books on the shelves, newspaper executives are responsible for deciding what goes on the front page. In these cases, the scarcity of the resource itself creates the need for a professional class there are few libraries but many patrons, there are few channels, but many viewers. In these cases, professionals become gatekeepers, simultaneously providing and controlling access to information, entertainment, communication, or other ephemeral goods.
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (New York & London: Penguin Books, 2008), 57.