Not my words, mods ... but from BBC News. But this article (excerpts below) is worth noting and discussing, because as our world, our economies and the way our societies function changes ... so do the entrenched social functions, mechanisms and practises. As unions become less and less important (or more and more impotent) due to globalization forces, and as other factors play in ... cracks are opening in many areas heretofore completely unexpected.
This is most interesting stuff:
.Arizona police force turns to civilian investigators
By Paul Adams BBC News, Mesa, Arizona
The BBC's Paul Adams says the programme is a law enforcement innovation - and policing on the cheap in an era of government cuts.
In the only programme of its kind anywhere in the United States, Mesa's nine civilian investigation specialists are handling work normally reserved for uniformed officers.
'Cops hate change'
Sgt Cota of the police union says the civilian investigators cannot replace uniformed officers Last year, the unit handled about 50% of all burglary calls, the police department says.
It also wrote almost one in 10 written reports city-wide, relieving uniformed officers of much burdensome paperwork.
"If you look at the numbers that they've produced, they're really mind-boggling," Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead says.The department's officers greeted the suggestion civilians would take on regular police work with scepticism, Chief Milstead acknowledges.
"There's nothing cops hate more than change and the unknown," he says.
"What I didn't expect was the consistency and the amount of work that they can do, day in and day out."
In her sky-blue uniform and unmarked car, soft-spoken Corinna Barno says she and her colleagues are the "customer service police".
Pepper spray protection
Not obligated to respond to urgent calls from police dispatchers, she can afford to linger at a crime scene, spend time with the victim and develop a rapport.
"We're there to show them that we care," she says.
Ms Barno, the daughter of a private detective, doesn't carry a gun, handcuffs or baton, relying on her radio and a can of pepper spray for protection.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith would like to turn over some fire department tasks to civilians She has a background in insurance, and says she was one of more than 1,000 applicants for the new unit when jobs were first advertised in 2008.
The pay is 30% to 40% lower than the starting salary for a uniformed officer, but she finds the work satisfying.
"I think it's a great programme," she says, adding that the department's detectives frequently commend the unit on its report-taking