Daily Archives: November 25, 2008

Public Value Failure — Truth as casualty?

So, an oil company hires a professor to write a peer reviewed article designed to prove that punitive damages “make no sense”.  While writing the article, the professor concludes that greater transparency encourages “responsible corporate behavior.”  However, the oil company’s lawyers took offense to this unsolicited conclusion and cut off the professor’s funding.  To wit:

“Advocating greater openness to a lawyer,” the professor said, “is about as effective as advocating greater temperance at a bartender’s conference.”

This article points to an interesting area of examination regarding public value failure, the courts.  Perhaps a discussion on science and its use/abuse in the legal system could be constructed to “pick apart” the many ways that public values are treated within an institution where justice is the goal.

But, the professor concludes with a real zinger:

“The legal system and the scientific method,” he said, “co-exist in a way that is really hard on truth.”

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Filed under Government, public values