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Science-Mart

Science-Mart

Privatizing American Science

Philip Mirowski

ISBN 9780674046467

Publication date: 04/01/2011

This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize–winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

Science-Mart offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science—once the envy of the world—must be more than just another way to make money.

Praise

  • An important and intensely provocative book that explores fundamental questions about the political economy of science. Science-Mart challenges us to think more critically, more synthetically and more deeply about the growing commercialization of academic science by exploring the historical and ideological roots of that trend… Mirowski debunks the popular view that there is a linear, lockstep path leading from science and technology to economic growth, a claim that served as the mantra of those urging passage of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980… Mirowski has shown that a political economist can bring significant new insights to the discussion of academic marketphilia.

    —Sheldon Krimsky, American Scientist

Author

  • Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Book Details

  • 464 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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