Why Ordinary People Don’t Believe Scientists

Because they correctly observe that our whole society is profoundly corrupt, and this includes the most prestigious scientific and research institutions.

Seriously, it does not get any more “White Shoe” than Sloan Kettering:

Top officials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center repeatedly violated policies on financial conflicts of interest, fostering a culture in which profits appeared to take precedence over research and patient care, according to details released on Thursday from an outside review.

The findings followed months of turmoil over executives’ ties to drug and health care companies at one of the nation’s leading cancer centers. The review, conducted by the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, was outlined at a staff meeting on Thursday morning. It concluded that officials frequently violated or skirted their own policies; that hospital leaders’ ties to companies were likely considered on an ad hoc basis rather than through rigorous vetting; and that researchers were often unaware that some senior executives had financial stakes in the outcomes of their studies.

In acknowledging flaws in its oversight of conflicts of interest, the cancer center announced on Thursday an extensive overhaul of policies governing employees’ relationships with outside companies and financial arrangements — including public disclosure of doctors’ ties to corporations and limits on outside work.

Welcome to the wages of the neo-liberal society, where everything, including scientific integrity, is for sale, or at least for rent.

As a result, on issues where we are dependent upon expertise, we live in George Akerlof’s Market for Lemons, where the level of fraud results in the degradation of the “market” for scientific research.


  1. First, I've never said that I did not believe in economists, I just object to what they are doing being called "science".

    Second, his analysis of the used car market is more micro than macro economics, and I have always found more utility in the former.

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