Wednesday 1 August, 2012

The Modern Commercialisation of Science is a Passel of Ponzi Schemes


Public Lecture by Prof. Philip Mirowski

A wide array of phenomena lumped together under the rubric of the 'commercialisation of science', the 'commodification of research', and the 'marketplace of ideas' are both figuratively and literally Ponzi schemes. This thesis grows out of my experience of working on two concurrent projects: an attempt to understand the forces behind the progressive commercialisation of science; and the second, when it dawned upon me that the financial crisis then unfolding was resulting in the deepest worldwide economic contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

This lecture explores the parallels in three different areas: the biotech sector, technology transfer offices at major universities, and possible decline of numbers of American-authored papers in major science journals.

Co-presented with the Australian Working Group on Financialisation and Sydney Ideas.