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Is business bad for science & stop selling out science to commerce - Essay Example

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The debate has occurred as business continues to exert more influence in science. The influence has been linked to the advent of technology in the field of research. In the past, science was in…
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Is business bad for science & stop selling out science to commerce
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over the past 20 years, commercial influences on scientific research have become increasingly detrimental. Discuss" By Institution
30 January 2015
"Over the past 20 years, commercial influences on scientific research have become increasingly detrimental. Discuss"
There has been a serious debate on interrelationship between commerce and science. The debate has occurred as business continues to exert more influence in science. The influence has been linked to the advent of technology in the field of research. In the past, science was in no way associated with business. The business had no agenda in expanding scientific knowledge and research (Slaght & Pallant, 2006). As a result, science was left to independent institutions such as universities and non-profit institutions. However, today, there has been a tremendous influence on business in science most of which may be seen as a profit making agenda. The paper seeks to show that commercial influences on scientific research have become increasingly detrimental.
First, commercial influences on scientific research have led to failure to release some of the scientific results seen as harming industries. For example, the results may be on danger posed by certain substances or drugs produced by companies. As a result, such companies are most likely to engage in a campaign that will ensure that such results do not come to the public limelight. A classical example is seen through Nancy Olivieri of Toronto University (Slaght & Pallant, 2006). Olivieri notes that that one of drug companies engaged in a campaign that she did not publish her results concerning a drug she found to have a high level of toxicity (Slaght & Pallant, 2006). The allegation is serious knowing that such drug will be in the public for use. Hence, this is not just unethical, but also detrimental to the public as it may lead to serious short and long term harm.
Secondly, the influence of business on science has made it difficult for public to know how various advancements may be harmful to health and environment. Most of the research is done with little focus on the public concerns (Slaght & Pallant, 2006). The focus has been on ensuring their competitiveness, and business groups have been able to have their way with funding from bodies concerned with research. For example, genetic has been seen as playing a leading role in agriculture due to such influence. Hence, other environmental friendly approaches have been ignored such as minimal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (Slaght & Pallant, 2006).
In addition, through funding most companies ensures that results are favorable to them. There has been damning evidence mostly in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors. For example, it has been established that funders mostly choose scientists that are sympathetic to their viewpoints (Langley & Parkinson, 2009). Hence, any opposing viewpoint or damaging results will not be made available as these companies have direct control over the outcome of results. On the other hand, there has been a campaign to force acceptance of new technologies. For example, corporate-backed lobby groups engage in campaign to ensure wide acceptance of GM techniques. Moreover, the groups play a role in shaping government research agenda (Langley & Parkinson, 2009). Hence, there is less public concern in these researches.
Moreover, the university education has been affected by association of science and business. As noted, funding of university science is affecting education quality and also limiting research that can be of benefit to public (Anonymous, 2009). The deterioration has occurred through government initiatives. Government policy has been seen as encouraging more links between business and universities. As the article notes, the increased link has led to the relationship that is “distinctly unbalanced” that favour commercial interests (Anonymous, 2009). The outcome is that university education concept of openness and independence is eroded. Hence, compromising higher education research is detrimental as these institutions serves greater interest of society.
In conclusion, it is a clear involvement of business in science is detrimental. It leads to more focus on commercial interest. Hence, there is less concern for the benefit of the society. For this reason, there is a need of control to the extent in which business is associated with science.
References
Anonymous, 2009. Scientists compromised by commercial links. [Online] Available at: < http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/scientists-compromised-by-commercial-links/408625.article> [Accessed 30 January 2015]
Langley, C & Parkinson, S, 2009. Science and the Corporate Agenda: The detrimental Effects of Commercial Influence on Science and Technology. [PDF] Available at: < http://www.statewatch.org/news/2009/oct/scientists-for-global-responsibillty-report.pdf> [Accessed 30 January 2015]
Slaght, J & Pallant, A, 2006. The Business of Science. [Online} Available at: http://www.englishforacademicstudy.com/edition2012/Sampleunits/EAS_Reading_&_Writing_SB_2012_sample.pdf [Accessed 30 January 2015] Read More
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