Reviews: Bloated, Whiny and Self-Important; September 2001; Scientific American Magazine; by Keay Davidson, Staff Editors; 3 Page(s)
Dan Greenberg's profoundly important new book depicts American "Big Science" as a classic self-perpetuating bureaucracy-bloated, whiny and self-important. This bureaucracy defends big (and sometimes indefensible) budgets by weaving scare stories about national scientific "illiteracy," questionable "shortages" of scientific personnel, and imaginary threats from foreign competitors. Greenberg quotes an official of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget: "With the possible exception of veterans, farmers, and college students, there is no group that squeals more loudly over a reduction of federal subsidies than scientists. They are the quintessential special interest group, and in effect, they make the oil industry look like a piker."
Startling words? Isn't American science struggling to survive on meager funds, the result of post-cold war budget cuts inspired, in part, by the American people's alleged indifference, even hostility, toward science?