By Martin Feldstein
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Additional resources for American economic policy in the 1980s
Of course, it wanted to make money too, but this was accomplished only to the extent that the customer was satisfied. Carty had a self-interested reason for using this language and imagery. The professional ambitions of the corporate scientists meshed nicely with an emerging corporate creed about the centrality of consumerism and material abundance in American life. By stressing the importance of science to corporate expansion, corporate scientists were not simply selling themselves to the directors of their organizations; they were presenting themselves and their corporations together to the public as the crucial figures in the reorientation of America’s political economy.
Jewett’s conception of his professional and public identity depended on the assumption that the interests of corporate science and corporations were identical. But were they? Scientists gained popular acclaim and media attention only to the extent that they appeared to be ‘‘wizards,’’ bringing on new technological marvels and enhancing the comfort and luxury of the individual American. In a culture in which the public expected scientists merely to be wizards, there was little cultural space to argue, as Jewett would in the 1930s, for scientists to engage in the wider application of the ‘‘scientific method’’ in America’s political a√airs.
It was initially formed under the auspices of the National Research Council (nrc), but the group proved so useful to its members that it broke away from the nrc and became a self-sustaining entity. Its purpose was to allow the lab directors like Reese, Jewett, Whitney, and others to meet monthly and discuss common problems and strategies. Ω The general practices of corporate science made it easier than in academia for scientists of di√erent fields to collaborate and move across intellectual boundaries.
American economic policy in the 1980s by Martin Feldstein