There is one characteristic that all the BigThink Experts have in common. They are all privileged. The word “privilege” comes from the Latin for “private law”; that is to say, rights that apply to particular individuals and are granted based on one’s position or status. If these people didn’t achieve their status as experts because of privilege, they achieved their privileged status because someone or something powerful conferred it upon them. However, as an anthropologist, I have a hard time with such an elite view on who should be or who should not be considered an expert. I hesitate to ignore the advice of others who don’t have as much privilege, but who do have valuable knowledge and wisdom drawn from a deep well of multi-generational and direct experience. Anyone who’s sat down with a commercial fisherman to talk about fish stocks, a Native American elder to talk about geography, or a farmer to talk about the weather knows what I mean.