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Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II. Science-Mart attributes this decline to a powerful neoliberal ideology in the 1980s which saw the fruits of scientific investigation as commodities that could be monetized, rather than as a public good.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06113-2
    Subjects: General Science, Economics, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. 1 Viridiana Jones and the Temple of Mammon; Or, Adventures in Neoliberal Science Studies
    (pp. 1-38)

    It’s not easy making a living in the knowledge biz these days. Lately our heroine, the intrepid academic researcher Viridiana Jones, feels strung out between the Scylla of Disneyfication of higher education and the Charybdis of Free EnronPrise in securing a patron, any patron, to support her inquiries in an era of impending financial doom. Viridiana finds herself sometimes wistfully wondering what life might have been like if she had gone and gotten that law degree instead. She considers herself someone who keeps up with current events, but the news about her university these days just brings on a headache....

  4. I Why We Should Not Depend Upon the Existing Content of an ″Economics of Science″

    • 2 The ″Economics of Science″ as Repeat Offender
      (pp. 41-84)

      Suppose that Viridiana was coaxed to embark on a program of reading in the literature that one of her colleagues designated as the “economics of science,” in, say, 2005. Here are four quotes from well-known economists she might have run across, just as I did:

      Fischer Black, inventor of the famous Black-Scholes options formula(in Mehrling 2005, 73): “People love to create ideas, just as actors love to perform … We don’t have to pay researchers either.”

      Viridiana muses: Glad we got that settled (though there is the nagging consideration that Black was spectacularly wealthy at Goldman Sachs by the time...

  5. II A Modern Economic History of Science Organization

    • 3 Regimes of American Science Organization
      (pp. 87-138)

      Claims about the proper method for writing the history of science are simultaneously claims about the relations between the producers and consumers of scientific knowledge.¹

      Viridiana is not especially distressed to learn that the economists are a few cadenzas short of a concerto when it comes to science, but the people who really get her goat are the ones who insinuate that she is pining for a lost Shangri-La that never really existed. They say things like, “The enlistment of science in the cause of commerce and production goes back to Antiquity” (Shapin 2008b, 95). And that from a historian!...

    • 4 Lovin′ Intellectual Property and Livin′ with the MTA: Retracting Research Tools
      (pp. 139-193)

      Throughout the twentieth century, many observers fretted about the prospect of patents stifling the course of scientific research, but lately, the situation has become more recondite and tangled. Indeed, of all the topics covered in this book, the effects of intellectual property (henceforth, IP) on science, corporate innovation, the university, and everything else under the sun have become a rampant pox upon the economics of science, infecting every argument with every possible permutation of evaluation, ranging from fevered images of a nirvana with no IP whatsoever, to an Orwellian nightmare where every utterance gets revised whenever convenient by TruthCorp and...

    • 5 Pharma′s Market: New Horizons in Outsourcing in the Modern Globalized Regime
      (pp. 194-256)

      Anytime Viridiana needs to clear her mind after reading what economists or science studies scholars or presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] have been saying about the commercialization of science, all she has to do is turn to one of my favorite journals, Nature Biotechnology. You might think such a journal would be chockful of mind-numbingly detailed accounts of microassays, chemical proteomics, genome sequences, multidimensional cell maps, transcription start sites, RNA interference, SNPs, and so on. You would not exactly be wrong, because those things are indeed archived there; however, Viridiana was shocked to discover...

  6. III Where We Are Headed

    • 6 Has Science Been ″Harmed″ by the Modern Commercial Regime?
      (pp. 259-314)

      Viridiana, by this time, feels like reaching for some Valium. Now she can appreciate that the institutions that shape scientific research really have changed over the course of her lifetime, that the strengthening of intellectual property has been a prime culprit (but only an intermediate cause), and that the biotech model of support of science is fundamentally flawed. Her world has been privatized. But something deep down inside makes her hesitate: Might not Science be so powerful an individual calling that, despite all odds, it can still find a way past all obstacles and still produce progress? Maybe Science is...

    • 7 The New Production of Ignorance: The Dirty Secret of the New Knowledge Economy
      (pp. 315-350)

      Let us rendezvous once more with Viridiana Jones in our journey, before it draws to a close. While she has repeatedly experienced the shock of recognition while reading this book, there is no denying she feels that it has gone overboard in some respects. Can the university have really grown so irrational and self-destructive over her lifetime? Why has it enthusiastically bought in to the biotech start-up model of research when that sector as a whole loses money, is inured to more than 80 percent failure rates, and has yet to produce a serious track record of new and innovative...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 351-390)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 391-448)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 449-450)
  10. Index
    (pp. 451-454)