Corporate Funded Research.

Industry funded research

OK, now this is the kinda malarkey that gets me all hot and bothered. Not because it’s shocking or monumental. It’s neither. In fact, it’s all too common and predictable, but it represents so much of what’s wrong in the world.

I made a conscious decision to abandon moral philosophy as a career path, and yet I find it rearing its ugly head at every turn. Back when I still had my sights set on a Ph.D. in the field, a friend in college once asked me, ‘Don’t you think that’s kinda up to everyone to figure out for themselves?’ He had a point, to be sure.

And yet, isn’t it time we demanded that all members of society recognize the ripple effects of their actions? Before I particpate on any level, don’t I need to acknowledge and accept that my moral convictions–or lack thereof–may have a strong negative impact on the members of my community. And when my circle of influence is measured in the 10s or 100s of millions, haven’t I clearly crossed the line between inalienable personal liberties and imperative social responsibility? In these cases, ‘No.’ ‘No, I don’t think that’s kinda just up to everyone to figure out for themselves.’ As rational and just beings, we must insist that freedom and accountability be served in equal parts. And if corporate entities are to be treated as individuals, then they must be held to the spirit of stringent social contracts as well.

As if it wouldn’t be hard enough for Joe Blow to wade his way through the knee-high bullshit around him without the experts taking bribes to present intelligent-looking scientific research. Goodness gracious.

(via The Situationist)

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3 responses to “Corporate Funded Research.

  1. Thanks for this Steve.

    Let’s add a word to your friend’s question,
    “Is it up to everyone to figure out TOGETHER?”

    One phrase from The Situationist article truck me. It’s a phrase I’ve heard before and I hate – “The marketplace for ideas.” It’s used by people who think that ideas are only good if many people “buy” them and I for one don’t buy that.

  2. it’s interesting alright, but i think you’re operating on an assumption

    “And yet, isn’t it time we demanded that all members of society recognize the ripple effects of their actions?”

    you’re assuming that all people are ready or able to do this, which, let’s be honest, they’re not. if we look at the majority of western society, we’re all too hungry chasing after the next brass ring, the next promotion, the new beemer.
    also, you’re assuming that people would actually want to do this. who would want to examine the ripple effects of their actions when a lot of people don’t even “know” themselves.

  3. Michael: Excellent observations. Medical and technological research tend to advance at a faster rate than the laws that govern them. We need to be working from principles and not only precedence. Whether every borderline case must be decided in advance is questionable, but it would be nice to have some guidelines sketched in broad strokes. There’s a difference between being a fraud without hurting anyone–perhaps to gain noteriety (e.g. Milli Vanilli)–and writing bogus research to cloud the potential hazards of smoking cigarettes.
    Also agree about how inappropriate terms like ‘buying’ and ‘being sold on’ ideas can be.
    Rob: Yeah, they used to call me ‘utopia boy’ so no surprises about me pitching unrealistic social doctrine. I have to say that I still think Plato’s Republic got a lot of it right. Put the important decisions in the hands of Philosopher-Kings and stop expecting the laymen to be rational.

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