Arthur E. Sowers arthures at access.digex.net
Wed Jun 5 11:07:54 EST 1996

On 5 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:

> Why are our Canadian colleagues able to be so honest about the state
> of Science, while we down here in the states are not?
> Ricardo Moro's frank disclosure this morning that PEER REVIEW sucks,
> and that the process of scientific publication is more about 
> justification of funding than dissemenation of information,
> appears right on the mark to me.
> But Ricardo Moro is from Vancouver.
> I know that there is much wonderful science (particularly genetics)
> going on in British Columbia, and generally in Canada, but do our
> colleagues up there have a patent on wisdom?
> Last year there was an enormous strike at the University of Manitoba,
> over issues having to do with academic freedom. Biologists
> were in the forefront, leading the strike...
> Here in the states Academic Freedom is slowly but surely becoming
> lessened; but aside from the Yale Graduate Students (who garner
> little or no support from their faculty colleagues), I see no
> protests.
> Can someone help me understand the conundrum of why Canadians have
> taken to speaking out, while American academicians appear
> to have given in?

There are many reasons: i) most academics are "doing OK" (meaning that
they are "scraping by" off the bottom of the barrel, but are not out of
the barrel, or out of the frying pan and into the fire), ii) it is not
anywhere near as common of an event in this country as it is in Northern
Ireland to have "explosive" events happening very often to call attention
to matters of social concern, iii) a substantial fraction of underlings,
which are under the overlings (in heirarchical systems), don't even
realize that anything like a "revolution" or "protest" or "organization"
(as in unions) might be a creative and useful answer to the exploitation
they are experiencing, and iv) we here in the USA are living in probably
the most virulently capitalist-imperialist country in the world. HOWEVER,
managers, administrators, and related kahunas well understand the power
that they wield, being that they have their hands on the valves controling
the flow of money and the push-buttons controling executive decisions, iv)
this arrangement insures that risks will be reallocated to the underlings
and the benefits will be reallocated to the overlings (a variation on the
theme of "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer"). 

Now, anyone else have any comments? And, Bert, did that help any?
Or would you like to come back with an antithesis to my thesis?
> Bert Gold
> San Francisco

Art Sowers

More information about the Bioforum mailing list