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Science-Mart: Privatizing American Science

By: Philip Mirowski

464 pages, 15 figs, 15 tabs

Harvard University Press

Hardback | Apr 2011 | #190214 | ISBN-13: 9780674046467
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £29.95 $37/€34 approx

About this book

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.

This book 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.

Eminently thought-provoking, this book places the contemporary economics of science in a context that combines political economy and intellectual history. A deeply impressive work that contributes to crucial debates. Mirowski never shies away from controversy and presents his case clearly and persuasively in an effective, engaging, and humorous style.
-Donald MacKenzie, author of An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets

"Science-Mart is timely and important in a sense that goes beyond a specialist contribution. Mirowski's wide-ranging research addresses a dazzling array of topics, which he situates historically and fuses into a compelling critique that will fascinate any reader concerned with the economic and social dimensions of modern science and technology. "
-Theodore M. Porter, author of Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age

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

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