Una epidemia de política

Los estadounidenses, como los ciudadanos de muchos otros países del mundo, han llegado a aceptar que la política juega un papel importante en el nombramiento de algunos funcionarios públicos. A pocos nos sorprende (aunque a algunos les desilusiona) que se otorgue un cargo de juez federal o de diplomático de alto nivel a un candidato que pase pruebas de lealtad sobre principios que son importantes para el partido del presidente o del primer ministro. Pero casi todo el mundo está de acuerdo en que las ciencias son otra cosa, y en esto, los Estados Unidos se están convirtiendo en un ejemplo aleccionador para el resto del mundo.

Los nombramientos científicos deberían basarse en criterios objetivos de formación, capacidad y desempeño. Obviamente, es legítimo interrogar a un futuro Secretario de Salud y Servicios Humanos (SSH) sobre su posición en cuanto al aborto. Pero someter a pruebas de lealtad política a quienes han sido nombrados para participar en comités consultivos científicos está totalmente fuera de lugar. De la misma manera, la membresía en los órganos que llevan a cabo la revisión de las propuestas científicas de sus pares (proceso que es fundamental para el avance científico) ciertamente debería estar libre de barreras que no se relacionen con la aptitud profesional.

Desgraciadamente, los científicos de los EU se están encontrando cada vez más con barreras de ese tipo. El otoño pasado, la revista Science publicó varios artículos relativos a este tema.

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  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.


    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?


    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

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