978-0-226-30635-3 / 9780226306353

Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion


Publisher:University Of Chicago Press



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About the book:

In Science, Money, and Politics--a wide-ranging indictment of the way in which science is conducted in the United States--journalist Daniel Greenberg writes that science, in the abstract, is supposed to be nonpolitical, even to transcend politics entirely. In truth, though, science is always conditioned by political reality--and by money. Although funding for scientific research has been readily available since the end of World War II, (he maintains), research bureaucrats have transformed the enterprise into "a clever, well-financed claimant for money"; the successful quest for that funding into a condition of employment and advancement. Given that climate, Greenberg suggests, basic research has suffered, so that many diseases go unconquered, while more politically glamorous investigations are rewarded. Increasingly corporatised--industry, he writes, accounts for two-thirds of all research and development dollars spent, and its "profit-seeking values" are radiating throughout the culture--scientific research is insufficiently policed and criticised, watched over only by the inmates . In the rush for funding, Greenberg argues, science becomes increasingly subject to ethical lapses, with scientists too easily endorsing dubious causes such as the so-called Star Wars missile-defence system and too readily putting human subjects in danger.

Greenberg's arguments are broad but well supported, and his book is sure to excite controversy within the scientific community. Lay readers, however, will also find it of much interest. --Gregory McNamee

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