Home > Uncategorized > Bribe offers for academics

Bribe offers for academics

from Edward Fullbrook

Norbert Häring’s story about misleading academic research reminds me of another story.

Big-money offering bribes to academics is, I suspect, more common than people, including academics, realize.  I first encountered the practice when I was an undergraduate.  My university’s most popular course, “Insurance”, was taught by an economics professor whose students affectionately called Doc Elliot.  He taught not only how the insurance industry purported to work, but also how it really worked, and he frequently accepted off-campus speaking engagements.

Doc Elliot may be the only person who has ever lived who could talk insurance and make people laugh.  Certainly, he was the funniest person I’d ever known; and, despite our 35-year age gap, we became friends of a sort.  One day I was sitting with him in his office when, handing me a business letter, he said, “Here, this is what a bribe offer looks like.”

The letter was from a national association of insurance companies.  It praised his eminence as a world authority on insurance and said they would like to be able to occasionally call on him for advice.  For this they would pay him $80,000 a year.  At the time the university’s highest professor’s salary was $10,000, and so far as I know there was no money in this professor’s family.

“In the world we live in,” explained Doc Elliot, “refraining from telling the truth is often worth lots more than telling it.  I get between-the-lines offers like this all the time.  But I think this one deserves to go up on my bulletin board.”

  1. February 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Representative democracy has been turned into a dangerous war machine by the same mechanism.

    An economist’s mind may possibly be able to devise an alternate intellectual transaction system called autonomous democracy as a replacement for disrupted representative democracy, possibly.

    But what can possibly replace a corrupted education system like the one in the US? My country has figured out how turn human curiosity and youthful urge to learn into debt slavery.

    Representative democracy in the US has learned how steal life force from children and feed it to immortal corporations to give them artificial life and artificial intelligence, hopefully.

    • Craig
      February 24, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      “But what can possibly replace a corrupted education system like the one in the US? My country has figured out how turn human curiosity and youthful urge to learn into debt slavery.”

      Correct. Now imagine the policies of a $1000/mo universal dividend and a 50% discount/rebate at the point of retail sale for colleges (the cost of tuition is the retail sale point of the business model of higher education). Thus if the yearly tuition is $12,000 that makes the $12,000 now $6000 which means that a student could pay off their tuition costs with a 0% loan from the monetary authority creating that note in 12 $500/mo. payments and the student would still have $500 that would purchase $1000/mo worth of goods and services…while they were going to school. And if somewhere along the line the student also got a part time job making $7.50/hr 20 hrs/week that means they would have a potential purchasing power of $2200/mo. Does that sound like a good idea and a happier future for students or not?

  2. Edward Ross
    February 23, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    In reply to Edward Fullbrook February 23,2018

    “In a world we live in “explained Doc Elliot refraining from telling the truth is often worth lots more than telling it. I get between the lines offers like this all the time, but I think this one deserves to get on my bulletin board”
    Thank you for your blog and the support for Norbet Haring and his concern about miss leading academic research, ”

    “In the world we live in ” explained Doc Elliot “refraining from telling the truth is often worth lots more than telling it. I get between-the-lines offers like this all the time”

    As the Doc Elliot quote points out there are many forms of bribes that including avoiding the truth and in many cases this can include only teaching or perhaps better described as indoctrinating students with the neoliberal economic rationalism or as Susan Fiener has described it, as to parrot back what they have been indoctrinated with. I have often supported this accusation from my own observation here in Queensland Australia where year 12 students have told me that they have been told of the great benefits of free trade. But when I have asked what did they tell them of the possibility that free trade might destroy your chances of employment when you finished your education, the answer was a blank stare. My concern is that this attitude permeates the whole society where ultimately wealth and power corrupts politics, education, justice, the concepts of democracy and capitalism and the public at large.

    Therefore from my simple perspective because all of the efforts of those involved in the real world economic journals as well as other initiatives have not been able to make any real changes to a corrupt economic system. My argument is as a number of economists is the same as some economists such as C.T.Kurien have already advocated that teaching students how to think needs to be part of a long term strategy. My addition to that is that I think economists have ignored the effect the public could have in the conversation if they were given some of the simple basics of economics that with leadership could give them confidence to challenge the economic system that penalises them.

  3. Edward Ross
    February 24, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    an other of my blunders I should have added Ha-Joon Chang because he has long advocated the importance of teaching students how to think, sorry Ha-Joon Chang. Ted

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