We collect metadata for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is to allow the holder of a book to match that book to catalog records. “Is the description here actually for the book I have?” The holder of the book only has access to the “fingerprints” on the body for making an identification. The publishing statement is one of those fingerprints. If we make it go away and replace it with a pointer to an authority record, we’ve lost the connection between the book in hand and the description of that book.
Might it make sense to separate those descriptive practices? Might we have a “fingerprints” section in a manifestation description? If we capture those few unique fingerprints that the book holder has access to and separate them in our description from the authority descriptions, might we not make both processes simpler? Let’s have a fingerprint with the publishing statement from the book *and* a pointer to a publisher *and* (if possible) a pointer to a publication place.
I think we’ve spent a lot of time trying to conflate two different (but very real) problems just because they were conflated in MARC/AACR2.