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Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion [Paperback]

Daniel S. Greenberg
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15, 2003 0226306356 978-0226306353 1
Each year, Congress appropriates billions of dollars for scientific research. In this book, veteran science reporter Daniel S. Greenberg takes us behind closed doors to show us who gets it, and why. What he reveals is startling: an overlooked world of false claims, pork, and cronyism, where science, money, and politics all manipulate one another.

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Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion + The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers + The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

So writes journalist Daniel Greenberg in this wide-ranging indictment of the way in which science is conducted in the United States. 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" and 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 corporatized--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 criticized, 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-defense 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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Washington-based journalist Daniel S. Greenberg (The Politics of Pure Science) delves further into his favorite issue in Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion. Debunking science industry and policy myths left and right, Greenberg combines archival research and interviews with scientists and politicians in the know to explore why and how research has happened in the postwar U.S. "[B]ecause the politics of science is registered in money awarded or denied... [m]oney will serve as a diagnostic tool for our study," says Greenberg. He goes on to describe the sycophancy, backbends and, sometimes, dishonesty practiced by researchers, and the willingness of some government scientists to keep their mouths shut when it behooves their bosses. A disturbing, compelling and well-researched conspiracy story of the "I knew it!" variety.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226306356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226306353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel S. Greenberg is a Washington-based journalist who has recently turned to fiction after a long career writing about science policy and politics. He is the author of three non-fiction books, "The Politics of Pure Science," "Science, Money, and Politics," and "Science for Sale," all published by the University of Chicago Press. His novel, "Tech Transfer: Science, Money, Love, and the Ivory Tower," published in 2010, was described by the New York Times as "a hilarious" and "mordant satire about scientists and universities and how they do business." (NY Times, Science section, book review, May 25, 2010).
Greenberg has served as a reporter for the Washington Post, as news editor of Science magazine, and as a columnist for the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. For many years, he wrote an op-ed column that appeared in the Washington Post and other newspapers, and contributed to many publications, including the New York Times, the Economist, Harper's, Smithsonian, Nature, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He founded and for 25 years edited Science & Government Report, an international newsletter which was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in 1997. Greenberg has held appointments as a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association, Visiting Scholar in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Johns Hopkins University and as a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and has been awarded research grants by the Carnegie Corporation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Born and raised in New York City, he is a graduate of Columbia University and served as a naval officer prior to beginning his career in journalism.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Four Books That Blend Together Nicely October 19, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best of the four books I chose to look into this topic, easily the most comprehensive and balanced, with a strong ethical component; it shows how the competition for money, rather than scientific progress, is diverting scarce resources and frustrating needed advances.

It does not, however, provide a complete picture. Three other books are helpful:

The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney is the book that is the most compelling on the perversions of the extremist Republicans (I am a moderate Republican). Read this first or last, depending on your disposition.

Frontiers of Illusion: Science, Technology, and the Politics of Progress by Daniel Sarewitz, is an excellent counterpart to Greenberg as well as the other two books If science is corrupt on the one hand, it is also over-sold on the other, a point that Sarewitz addresses very methodically.

Finally, Investing in Innovation: Creating a Research and Innovation Policy That Works, edited by Lewis Bramscomb and James Keller, brings together a range of views crossing the environment within which scientific research takes place, evaluationg specific programs and policy tools, and making recommendations (all of which have been ignored by the current Bush Administration).

I take three bottom lines from these four books together:

1) We are spending too much on military science & research.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science for Sale? September 7, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm one of those who believes that we have far more to gain from good science than we have to lose. Nonetheless, Greenberg's book brought me up short. This is a dramatic, readable, well-documented, and shocking exposé of the dirty back-door means by which much support for science research is secured in this country. Greenberg cites example after example of how undeserving or questionable projects are funded while, presumably, more promising work goes begging because it lacks powerful patrons. Greenberg also argues that the whole system is corrupt because universities depend on grant overhead for operating budgets, while congressmen and -women want money for their districts, and various scientific disciplines want to increase their clout and standing. Greenberg clearly is very angry, and his anger stems from genuine outrage that an enterprise such as science, which is so important, and so powerful, has participated in making itself an often-sleazy political tool. I hope university administrators and all the federal officials responsible for science funding will read this book--the fault lies less with scientists individually than with the ways in which universities, the federal government, and scientific organizations see their self-interest.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
There are a couple of things about this work by Greenberg that struck me as significant, and added to the fact that the book is very well written, it makes for a very compelling read. Even after many years of scientific journalism and working within the industry Greenberg says that the scientific enterprise makes him "feel like a stranger in a strange land." This is no idle boast by someone trying to tout his credentials as an objective observer and skeptic. This is in fact precisely the perspective that Greenberg uses throughout; this arms-length approach allows him to come up with some rather perceptive insights and useful recommendations. The second point of interest, and something for which the scientific community should be commended, is that generally this book has been quite favorably received. Many times when an "outsider" reports on some subject, the first, and oftentimes the only point, aggrieved professionals focus on is that he's not an "expert", or he's a "non-specialist". That doesn't seem to be the case with most of the commentary on this book from the scientific community. And make no mistake, there's enough damning evidence here about the volatile mix of SCIENCE, MONEY, AND POLITICS and the resulting mess of "Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion", that it would be normal to expect self-defensive counter criticisms.
Greenberg traces the changing role of science and its relationship with politics, roughly since the period following WWII. Long gone is the era of the prominent presidential science advisors. Today it is money that dominates the scientific agenda. The chapter on the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its claim a few years ago that the country faced a shortage of tens of thousands of scientists is illustrative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best work on this subject February 28, 2002
Format:Hardcover
This is the definitive book on this topic. The author has been reporting this subject for over 40 years and has personally interviewed most of the major players. Plenty of facts and figures but interestingly written. Neither "Gosh, how wonderful Science is" or an expose' of how tarnished Science is. Extremely objective and written by a man who knows as much or more about this subject as anyone around.Historians will use this as a reference for a long time.
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