The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Frauds     1 of 2

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The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Frauds

Postby rerevisionist » 02 Jun 2011 19:11

Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Frauds - What Is To Be Done?
Several issues here:
[1] I'm assuming 'fraud' can de defined in a common-sense way. But bear in mind that a society may 'need' or have to tolerate fraud, for example to keep full employment, or as an outlet for anti-social people, or because it may be impractical to remove it.
[2] I'm assuming a traditional set of hierarchies, so that fraud will appear differently to the different layers. For example, ordinary soldiers, or factory workers, or teachers, or victims of wars may be part of a fraud without having any idea that they are. At intermediate layers, ordinary discreditable or dishonest manoeuvres become entangled with fraud - some such behaviour no doubt will happen even in organisations with completely honest purposes. The trick is to try to isolate the science component.
[3] At the highest levels, activities completely out of the range of ordinary people can be carried out, and in fact seem common. We must separate out those activities which don't involve science fraud. The sort of things I have in mind are: military leaders who want a war purely for the sake of their name being linked with their war; legal entanglements which have some undeclared purpose, such as promoting crime or forcing immigration or increasing drug use; arranging entire education systems so that certain topics are censored; issuing misleading information to cause stock/share prices to change; dumping products to ruin smaller industries of smaller countries; using the legal power to print money to damage people who don't have that option; angling for money for some sectors - demolition and building work, roads, weapons.
[4] 'Science fraud' I take to involve money for projects which look scientific, but in fact are insecurely based scientifically. Usually (I think) they are based on secrecy - where the basis for the work is uncheckable; or complexity - and usually care is taken to obfuscate the issues as much as possible; or on the suppression of comparative data - so the projects get money in situations where, if information were more freely available, it would go to other projects. Modern examples include AIDS, much of NASA, organophosphate insecticides and BSE, promotion of some drugs, fluoridation, climate pseudo-science, and no doubt much of physics - including probably particle accelerators, nuclear weapons, and probably nuclear power. A lot of biology is based on poor science (cf. Harold Hillman and others). As these things have picked up money, they have at the same time been able to fund their own publicity and pressure group schemes. In fact they have some advantages over serious science - they can use a high proportion of money purely for propaganda, rather than have to fund serious and uncertain work. And they pick up defenders in the shape of associates and hangers-on whose lives and income make them dependent on fraud.
[5] There is some sort of distinction between the 'private' and 'public' sectors, but the bigger the industry, the fuzzier is the dividing line. Internationally, it becomes even fuzzier.

The point of this section - which could be expanded into a forum - is to try to look at patterns and structures in society and economics, in the hope of trying to avoid future errors, and maximise the chance of dismantling frauds in an efficient way. I'll now post some suggestive material by Ivor Catt, a friend of mine.
The following is edited down from from The Catt Concept (1972; with permission). It's in the pop sociology tradition of Parkinson's Law and The Peter Principle; they looked at the British civil service, and the Canadian and US education systems. Catt's book is unusual in looking at employees in technical work. Note that he is careful to distinguish management from technocracy - as in 'the management-technocracy guerilla war'. His examples are not from the highest levels, as described in [3] above, but people caught in the middle. (NB: Catt is not a nuke sceptic, nor even a NASA sceptic. The experiences below were based on the pre-silicon ship world of computers).

Inverse Firing Order This causes a manager to lay off his best, rather than his worst, man. The reason for this is that in the future there will be a layoff at the manager's level, and a manager is more likely to be laid off if he has a good subordinate who can take his place. We should sympathize with the manager, who suffers much more from a layoff than a younger, more junior man. ... The high-flying recruit must bear this danger in mind and not show too much brilliance during the first year with his new company. ...

The Incompletion Gambit The most secure project is the unsuccessful one, because it lasts the longest. Most layoffs occur at the completion of a project, so that only a fool or a brave man completes one if he is not already embarked on its successor. A wise worker will delay completion of a project and look around for another job during the last month or two. Of course, a project should not be seen to slip in its early stages, when the cost of dropping it would appear small. The best thing to do is to make every effort to make it appear that the project is going well until the last month or two and then let it slip little by little ... [naive material follows on Apollo having been 'too successful']

Secretiveness The employee believes, rightly, that he is less likely to be laid off if there is uncertainty about his functions and how he performs them. This makes him secretive and ambiguous when discussing them. It is difficult for upper management to carry out a study of the way the place actually operates, because this is taken to be a prelude to a layoff. ... The employee strives to convince his managers that they are not fully familiar with the situation. He does this in a number of ways. One useful trick is to bring in new words to replace well-known ones. ... in a dynamic company or industry, everything will be renamed frequently in an attempt to give pause to the hatchet man and so elude him. ...
We have all had the experience of trying to get some understanding (rather than mere information) out of someone who is reluctant to hand it over. ... The important principle is that the less management knows and understands, the more secure the job is.

The Supremacy of the Prosaic Any suggested major improvement in product or technology is primarily a threat to the security and livelihood of one's co-workers. In the reorganization that will be necessary to take advantage of the change, many employees risk being laid off 'in the interests of efficiency'. So all staff should unite to nip in the bud a suggestion which promises more than a marginal improvement in the technology. The best way to defuse the inventive and therefore dangerous talent in the company is to direct it into lines of research which are likely to be unproductive. This is what causes such confusion in meetings where new ideas are being discussed. Support for an idea may be honest and sincere, or it may be offered by someone who wants to lead others off on a wrong track. It is difficult to get sense out of anyone. ...

The Con Game If a manager supports an idea which is unsuccessful, he is fired. (If his boss did not fire him, he himself would be fired for shielding uneconomic, incompetent units of labor.) So he must mislead his boss and make him think that the project is going well, until the investment reaches such a level that the exposure of failure would lead to the firing of his boss rather than himself. When his boss finally finds out, he sets to work to mislead his boss. And so on. By this means, hopeless projects, in which no one believes, receive prolonged financing. ... When a phoney project has grown to large proportions, it is embarrassing to have a bright guy at a low level who can see through it. He may even try to convince the project manager that the project is doomed. The project manager already knows this, but cannot admit it, and will sometimes employ the clever maneuver of trying to fasten some of the blame for failure on to the young upstart. ...

The Domino Theory of Firing The project is going badly, and middle management must prove that it is dynamic and aggressive by firing someone as a scapegoat. The obvious target is the man at a low level who is closely involved with the details of the project. Unfortunately, when he is gone, a great deal of important knowledge about the project has gone with him, so the project gets into greater difficulties. A bigger scapegoat is now required, so his boss is fired. This domino effect has been seen propagating itself upward through five levels of management, the firings taking place at intervals of one month. Each time someone is fired, observers are very satisfied and feel that the unfair dismissal at the lower level has been expiated. ....

Layoff Fodder Management ordains a 10 per cent layoff for every department once a year. This is supposed to get rid of deadwood, keep others on their toes and make them more efficient, and also keep bureaucracies from growing out of hand. How do middle managers react? They know there will be a layoff in the future, which will disrupt their department. So they hire 'layoff fodder', who are kept in reserve to be laid off when upper management demands some pruning. In the New Reality, a well-run department will carry some 15 per cent surplus staff, to provide for any eventuality. The surplus staff is placed in peripheral spots in the organization - technical coordinator, librarian, administrative assistant, advance planning, training officer and equipment supervisor are typical stables for layoff fodder. The important thing is that when upper management demands economies, these people can be offered up without seriously disrupting the organization. ....

Leapfrog C thinks his boss B is going to be fired or laid off. To avoid being washed away with him and to try to get the resulting vacant position when B goes, he must try to withdraw as much as possible from B and leapfrog to B's boss, A. This means that if B is not in fact fired very soon, he in his turn fires C for trying to squeeze him out. The ostensible reason, as always, will be an attack on C's personality. A must support B in firing C; otherwise, B in self-defence must leapfrog A, and try to get on the good side of his boss. To block leapfrog attempts against himself, a dynamic manager interposes himself between his subordinates and the rest of the company. In the extreme case, his subordinates are not allowed to communicate directly with anyone in other departments. ... his subordinates, cut off from the rest of the company, are rendered virtually useless, and the whole department stagnates. ...

Advance Planning Future plans should be grossly optimistic. A man is judged not only on past achievements but on predicted future achievements. Past achievements successfully completed are usually muddied by hiatuses of layoffs, firings, changes of plan and intergroup conflicts. So in general all there is to go on in judging a man is his own prediction of future performance. If he is too optimistic, he is unlikely to suffer the consequences because those to whom he made the predictions will have left, and the new middle management will be unable to reconstruct past history. Alternatively, the man himself will have changed jobs to further his personal growth. The main task for a dynamic employee, therefore, is to devise plausible but highly optimistic predictions of future performances. He would, of course, be wise to make his most impressive predictions about the later stages of the project's development (such as design implementation, checkout of design and getting the product into production); however, he is influenced in the opposite direction, because the early stages (establishing the bounds of the problem and devising the overall plan) are under his individual control and a short time taken here to achieve success will redound more to his genius than will success in later stages. ...

The Come-On Shareholders and bankers like to have their money invested in a secure, steady company, but one which also has its eye on the future and has the possibility of high growth and profit. For this reason, to create the best image, a company needs to put some of its effort into a come-on - that is, a dreamy sort of a project, full of technical complexity and obscurantism, staffed by a bunch of enthusiastic young graduates hot from university with their heads still in the clouds, and often presided over by the resident genius. ...

The Semi-Blackmail The only real route to security is the semi-blackmail. If a man knows that you can damage him if he tries to get you fired, you are safe. If you smell a Con Game, that one of your boss's projects is an obvious waste of money, take an interest in that project, enough to show him that you see that it is fraudulent. Other obvious grounds for semi-blackmails are the normal sources of scandal - corruption, sex and so on. A complex web of illicit liaisons can stabilize the situation wonderfully. ...
Ivor Catt also has material on weaponry:
Whenever a major scandal hit GEC, Weinstock would rename it Marconi, and vice versa. MPs were too dim to realise that all the weapons scandals involved the single company. In this document, GEC stands for GEC or Marconi.

Stingray was special. GEC operated a number of “defence” weapon “design” scams, and Stingray was by far the most surreal. ... [I] got a job as the top EMC magician on the Stingray torpedo in Stanmore, Middlesex. As one of them, I was more able to set about finding out what they knew. ... After a few days I found out that their bible was the £400 Don White manual. However, no other EMC experts would lend me their copy, or let me see it. After about ten days, however, I met a man who sold EMC devices imported from Los Angeles to our weapons industry. He volunteered to lend me the EMC bible, which was one of his products, for two or three weeks. When I asked him why, he said that he had mixed loyalty. On the one hand he was happy take a 10p capacitor manufactured in Los Angeles, renamed an EMC capacitor, sold to him for £2 for him to mark up to £5 and then sell to GEC. On the other hand, he was also a taxpayer, and was appalled by the drain on the taxpayer.
It took me a day or two to find out that Don White and his EMC cardinals were technically ignorant. I wrote a document blowing the gaff on them. ...
In late 1980, Catt had a discussion, or tried to have a discussion, with the Ministry of Defence, and wrote---

There will have been numerous attempts to reform the state of the 'defence' industry, all of which have failed. It is now generally agreed that the industry is completely out of control. It is also clear that the amount of money it is soaking up, and the amount of damage it is doing, is on the increase. The damage comes under various categories.

1. Useless development projects prevent the start of viable projects, so that no viable weaponry can be developed.
2. As the amount of money being poured into these useless projects has now reached the rate of hundreds of millions of pounds per year, the 'defence' industry has become a prime factor, probably the major factor, in the collapse of our economy.
3. The 'defence' industry soaks up all money that would otherwise be available for high technology projects, so that experts in a number of key technologies are sucked in and prevented from doing useful work. Also, the development of their expertise comes to a halt. For instance, the nonsensical 'defence' projects over the last five or ten years have wrecked the British electronics profession, so that there is no longer in this country a viable electronic technology professional infrastructure which might be used as a basis for the starting up of a viable, real, defence industry, or other industry with significant electronics content.
4. The politicians, who are technically ignorant, are no match for the civil servants, who make decisions on where the money will be jettisoned. In any case, politicians do not last long enough to take any very useful action, but merely resort to a 'holding' action to prevent trouble from surfacing during their tenure.
5. It is not clear why the civil servants are willing to throw away such quantities of taxpayers' money. One good reason, of course, is empire building. Another is that civil servants, on retirement, take jobs with the companies they were previously funding. Certainly this applies to the key, senior, decision making civil servants. It is quite possible that in general, no direct corruption of civil servants by companies receiving MoD money is involved. The large scale employment of retired army generals etc. by the companies would explain the racket to some extent, if it can be shown that senior military men have close connections with senior MoD men. Of course, the generals could call for the development of particular kinds of weapons shortly before retirement. That would close the loop.
6. It is virtually certain that a very large percentage of civil servants in the MoD are as concerned as I am about the present situation; possibly all of them.
7. The level of investment in defence by our enemies will relate to our expenditure on defence and 'defence', rather than on the weaponry we develop. This means that phoney defence projects are particularly dangerous, since they incite our enemies to arm while leaving us defenceless.
8. The impotence of the politicians plus the blockage of the Official Secrets Act mean that the only place where reform could originate is the MoD. Alternatively, the limits of the Official Secrets Act need to be tested. This latter might be investigated by canvassing the judges who handle cases of breach of the Official Secrets Act. They could be asked whether there is a limit to the amount of taxpayers' money that can be jettisoned before the Official Secrets Act has been ipso facto rendered inoperative. I personally would put the figure at £100,000,000. Also, politicians could be canvassed with the same question, with a view to modifying the Official Secrets Act to make it inoperative in the case of misuse of funds at a level exceeding £100,000,000.
9. Superficially, it might be argued that it is in the national interest to suppress evidence that major weapons development projects have failed. However, now that we can see that frequent suppression of such information has led to this country being disarmed while inciting others to arm, we should conclude that our best interests have not been served by secrecy. Secrecy has first and foremost made possible the swindling of the country by manufacturers of phoney products, and the damage far outweighs any good achieved by secrecy. In the light of the experience of the last few years, politicians should consider whether secrecy has aided this country or damaged it.
10. The Nuremberg Trials established that when a governmental system breaks down, individuals within organisations have individual responsibility in the case of major decision making. Politicians do not last long enough, or have enough competence, to control the major, disastrous 'defence' projects currently in 'progress' in this country. Civil servants, on the other hand, are paid to have such technical competence, understanding and control. The man or committee member who signs away, for instance, the next £200,000,000 on Stingray, was paid his salary on the understanding that he would make himself competent to judge whether he was conniving in the waste of taxpayers' money.

Mod: added later; the file 'gamoe.htm' is Catt's account of his 1980 meeting with some Ministry of Defence officials:–

In early July [1980], Ivor Catt wrote to his M.P. expressing concern about the state of certain MoD funded defence projects in industry. After some involvement with the Minister of State for Defence and the Attorney General, a meeting between Catt and some MoD officials was arranged.


Location. Main Building, MoD, Whitehall. Time 10.30 a.m.
Present. Ivor Catt
For MoD.
J.M. Gibbon, Heat of International and Industrial Policy Division 1
Mr. Lidgett
Mr. Hurr
Mr. Maloney

The meeting lasted three hours. The MoD men refused to supply Catt with any information whatsoever. They told him nothing that they could not have told a representative of a hostile government. (Anthony Jay would say that that was exactly what he was!)

Gibbon was an administrator. The rest were engineers. They were unaware of the reality in the 'defence' projects in GEC companies. [nov1998. In the intervening twenty years, in spite of the govt. slush fund, GEC shares fared badly compared with other shares in their sector. However, the two carriages taking the Queen and the Duke to Ascot this summer also contained the Chief Executive of GEC and his wife.]

They all agreed that they did not want to take up Catt's proposal, that they meet five people working in GEC 'defence' projects, to get confirmation of Catt's allegations.

Hurr identified closely with upper management of GEC. He said he "had known Mariner (a senior manager in GEC-MAV) since he started at the work bench." Hurr fits very well into the role suggested in Wireless World, Nov. 1980, page 57;
    "In the electronics industry the norm is for a technically ignorant and careless customer to accept useless equipment from a technically ignorant manufacturer. The so-called 'trials' are rigged. Corruption is not generally involved; only stupidity and misplaced loyalty on the part of the treacherous representatives of the long-suffering taxpayer."

Hurr was very conscious of the fact that GEC was rare in having engineers in high positions in management. It is quite possible that he has over-reacted to this knowledge and poured money into GEC on the mistaken assumption that the presence of engineers in high places proves that things are as they should be.

Although the MoD men refused to give any information as to their responsibilities, it seemed clear to me that most of those present had too much to defend in their past actions, in funding GEC etc., and will concentrate on defending the past at the expense of the future. Defence of past actions means throwing good (taxpayers') money after bad.

During the meeting, Hurr developed the theory that Catt had connived in the design/development of faulty equipment.

Gibbon could usefully regard the meeting as a situation where the administrator (himself) played off MoD engineers against another engineer (Catt).

Catt asked Maloney to give two criteria that he would use to judge the competence of a company. Catt claimed that any criteria must rate GEC-MSDS worse than other companies. Maloney refused to give any criteria except "Do they deliver?" He later agreed with Catt that the specification of what was to be delivered was nowadays written by the supplier, not the customer. (In such a situation, it would take a very odd supplier to fail to 'deliver'.) The MoD men all said that it was the new government policy to have the supplier specify the product, rather than (as in the past) the customer (i.e. MoD).

When Catt asked the MoD men to examine any GEC library and note the absence of any technical books less than ten years old, Maloney said this might lead to better designs. This was typical of his general attitude.

They refused to supply any information as to their responsibilities or functions, although pressed for this a number of times. I would surmise that Hurr is the top technical man, responsible for the major decisions of the last few years - funding Tornado, AEW, Stingray etc - and would suffer should Catt be proved right in his allegations.

It became clear that the MoD men will treat the meeting like a bad dream. [nov98. O am, told that one died of a heart attack two weeks later.] Their refusal to meet other dissidents working on these projects I regard as very significant. Presumably it would be convenient to limit the subject to Catt, so that it can be dismissed as some individual aberration.

The best chance of some reforming action is I think with Gibbon, but I fear that even he is too responsible for past errors to be able to do much. [signed] Ivor Catt

Mod: This is Catt writing in 2003 about the same company, which had a share-price crash in late 2001 and disappeared in 2006; Ew is 'Electronics Weekly' and he uses his own date notation:–

[Name in techie magazine] is completely wrong [about GEC / Marconi] , as are the technology-free journalists who write about the spectacularly rapid collapse of GEC. In 1980 I was so concerned about the state of Weinstock’s GEC that the Attorney-General arranged a meeting for me with the chief procurement officers in the MoD in Whitehall, see , which was written at the time. I was in the employment of GEC when I blew the whistle.

In 2001, long before GEC collapsed, I put onto my website at ; “I have written that it is obvious that Weinstock, head of GEC, was not operating a major serial scam against the taxpayer because he accompanied the Queen alone in her carriage on the way to Epsom races while his wife accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh alone in the next carriage.” GEC was an empty shell in 1980, lacking middle management and lacking technical expertise. Both cost money, and Weinstock fired any divisional manager who did not show improved profit for the next six months. Today’s journalists have failed to check back to what was written at the time about the undermining of GEC by Weinstock. “GEC operated a number of ‘defence’ weapon ‘design’ scams …. “ [Ivor Catt, Ewmay03, p46.] The collapse of the Cold War undermined the scale of these scams, and so GEC’s collapse was inevitable, long before the maligned Lord Simpson arrived on the scene. All GEC had was a money mountain. Simpson had to try to buy in management and technical competence. But read “both Lord Simpson and John Mayo are accountants by profession” At, we read; “The name Marconi once stood for all that was great about British inventiveness. Now, it is the symbol of how badly things can go wrong. Guglielmo Marconi, who gave the company its name, was the co-inventor of the radio. He must be turning in his grave.”

Like a pack of wolves, technically ignorant journalists have got the date wrong. As engineers who were employed by GEC (except for Blythe) know, Weinstock turned GEC into an empty shell decades before Simpson arrived. Weinstock covered up using “defence” scams against the taxpayer. Simpson failed to restart the Cold War, the only way to save GEC, unless he bought up real companies, which he tried to do. How could the accountant Simpson tell that the bubble might burst? It was no more wowsy than “defence”.

I remember when GEC’s Technical Director called all the “engineers” (?milkmen?) together in GEC Chaucer House Portsmouth. He said; “I have good news for you. We have trebled our spend capability.”

To explain. I have it on good authority that “defence” scams were cost plus 14%. GEC would be more profitable if it could “spend” more taxpayers’ money. We “engineers” on the Tornado and Tigerfish projects were there to absorb the 100%, leaving GEC with the 14%. A good reason for employing contract engineers would have been if contract agencies paid off a west country front company set up by MoD staff in return for the MoD giving them the job of recruiting contract engineers for GEC. The collapse of the USSR would cause all such ruses to collapse.

Ivor Catt 22may03/ 1 june03

Unfortunately, Catt is light on evidence, and also light on the actual importance of money, having apparently no way to assess the comparative importance of the money wasted - in the great scheme of things, it may not amount to much. In fact, it's perfectly possible the amount to be scammed is selected to be as high as practicably possible in the economy concerned, taking account of all the other scams. The revisionist view is that the Cold War was a Jewish-controlled fraud, including numerous scams—'nuclear weapons', 'nuclear power', wars generated to use up bombs and equipment, internal frauds involving improperly audited sales between organisations.
Mod: Below is a typical example of a British worker's attitude to Weinstock and GEC, from a nationalist website, Sept 2012 (spelling etc conventionalised); how naive these people are:–

Lord Weinstock of course was Jewish and so of course had access to cash that non-Jewish business men could only dream about. But regardless of that he and his father must have been brilliant to build GEC to what it was when he was alive. Unfortunately the company no longer exists because the two idiots from Marconi--part of GEC--who took over when Weinstock retired ran the company into the ground. When Weinstock was in charge the Government used to use GEC's cash balance of twenty two billion pounds as a permanent source of borrowing. The demise of another British company which,at one time,ran dozens of factories including English Electric and Napiers in Liverpool. This is all very boring, but the point is that Weinstock, like Hanson and some other old style business men seemed to have had a different approach then. And off topic again it looks like the next British company to fall--to the French of all people--will be BA Systems. It was initially reported as 'a merger' but now it has changed to 'a sale.' More British tradesmen and engineers out of work. That's what the French do--buy our businesses and take the jobs to France.
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 04 Jun 2011 01:32

Catt is accurate, from what I've observed working in technical places. There is also Dilbert the comic strip. And that cartoonist, Scot Addams?, has also written a book or two.

I worked at a place that had departments. They had a software department, a mechanical engineering department, an electronic engineering department, a technical writing department, and so on. I guess most everyplace does. What was interesting was the interaction between the departments.

Several times, I went to other departments to ask for something. I would be asked what project it was I was working on. After I told them, I would usually get the rebuff, "That doesn't have priority."

What gave a project priority? From my observation, it was evident that a project got 'priority' by being over budget and past the deadline. The more over budget and the more past the deadline the project was, the more 'priority' it would receive.

Each project was given a number by the accounting department, after the project was approved. This was considered the beginning point of any project. Each week, I and every other hourly wage earner had to fill out a time card and put in it the amount of hours spent on each project by using the project number assigned by the accounting department. I then had to get it signed by someone senior to me. This was usually an engineer. Here's where the fun began. If the engineer spotted one of his own project numbers on my time card, he would say, "Oh no. You can't charge to that. It's already over budget." I soon figured out, since I had about five engineers who was qualified to sign the card, to keep in mind whose projects I had worked on, and take it to an engineer whose I hadn't.

Oftentimes, however, the engineer would give me a fresh number, for a recently approved project, and tell me to use that number, which I did. Of course, it wasn't the project I had worked on. In fact, maybe no one had worked on it yet. I got to wondering if it were possible for a project to go over budget without ever having anyone actually do any work on that project.

Putting one job number down when you had worked on another job might be considered a fraud. I don't know what difference it made, much, since most everything was sold to the US government. But Rockwell International did get into some trouble with the feds, back around 1980, because their employees were charging time they spent working on the B1 bomber to the Space Shuttle. Or was it the other way around? This might get some upset because one project was for NASA and the other for the Pentagon, but it's all family, right?

Anyway, getting back to the priority issue: Since it was hard to get another department motivated to work on your project until it had 'priority', and since 'priority' meant it was past the deadline and over budget, the interdepartmental cooperation didn't really get going until a project was past the deadline and over budget. Until that point, the project would sort of languish. Thus it was that nearly every project went over budget and past the deadline.
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby rerevisionist » 04 Jun 2011 04:03

Your experiences, and Catt's, and for that matter mine, are all relatively low level - what normal people see. But perhaps we might be able to deduce laws of sociology at higher levels. These are likely to be counter-intuitive, I think. E.g. because the members of elite groups may extend widely across the world, local interests may be crushed or ignored in ways which the victims hardly believe credible. Another example is the sort of thing where e.g. soldiers are treated as expendable bait, or civilians are bombed with no motive apart from maybe testing weapons. The callousness may be incredible to the victims, who will often choose not to accept such explanations. Catt didn't distinguish private sector from public sector organisations, but it's clear his examples are from the private sector, when they are asked to produce things for the public sector. Since funding is likely to be turned on, and cut off, unpredictably, it's not surprising things happen as he describes, in these industries. The same sort of pattern must apply to legal systems, if there is large state intervention in (for example) asylum law, human rights law, race law, legal aid for foreigners, laws on divorce. It's different in education - the funding schemes can last many decades, so these situations are riper for 'Peter Principle' style promotion to the level of incompetence. And the Civil Service, at least in Britain, and I think France, gives virtual life employment to people deemed to have passed relevant exams at about 21, so it's unsurprising that they have lifetimes to plan promotion paths, and arrange matters to maximise their own interests and secrecy.

But it's still difficult to separate out science fraud.
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 04 Jun 2011 13:32

What about Margaret Mead's "science" fraud?

Margaret Mead's fieldwork in Samoa, which resulted in her first major work, Coming of Age in Samoa, was completed over a period of months during 1925/26. Upon publication, it became an immediate success with the public. Through it, people were given access to a society unburdened by the problems of twentieth century industrialized America. She wrote of a society where love was available for the asking and crime was dealt with by exchanging a few mats. This book launched Margaret Mead's, career, which led to her becoming one of the most renown figures in American anthropology, if not in the world.

In 1983, Derek Freeman published his own study of Samoa titled, "Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth"(1983a.).
Derek Freeman read Mead's "Coming of Age in Samoa" soon after it was published. Enthralled, he became a regular visitor to the islands, learned the language, customs, and even became a participant local village politics as a full-fledged member of the community. He is recognized by his peers, and by the Samoans themselves, as an authority on Samoan culture. In his text, which is actually a refutation of Mead's work, Freeman takes particular umbrage at Mead, and claims that she was, or may have been, duped in regard to her conclusions. Freeman's work in Samoa encompassed the same area of Mead's, yet with quite different results.
What emerges through Freeman's detailed research is the somewhat troubling possibility that what was published by Mead in 1928 could not have been what she observed during her fieldwork in 1925/26.

The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Researchby Derek Freeman
Summary-review by Dr Peter S. Cook

In 1928, in her best-selling, “classic scientific study” Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead reported that adolescents there experienced complete sexual freedom, without the phenomena associated with adolescence elsewhere. She declared that this exception, which she had hoped to find, established that human nature and behaviour is shaped entirely by culture, not biological inheritance. She and her colleagues then worked to establish this “cultural determinism” as the prevailing ideology in the social sciences.

In 1983, Derek Freeman showed that her account was seriously in error in many respects. He now documents how this happened. Having neglected her assigned study, Mead belatedly interrogated her two female companions about their sexual customs, and she was “comprehensively hoaxed”. Freeman says she then “unwittingly misinformed the entire anthropological establishment, as well as the intelligentsia at large”, so that for decades professors throughout the Western world, quoting Mead to support cultural determinism, misinformed their social science students about “an issue of fundamental human importance”—the nature of human nature.

When Freeman presented his case, rather than being lauded by the anthropological community, he was pilloried for criticising an icon. Now he presents decisive evidence including, finally, an account published in 1931 by Mead herself. ... -research/

And what about the Kinsey report? ... 091031120X
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby rerevisionist » 04 Jun 2011 14:22

Thanks, yes. I know about Mead and Kinsey. What goes uncommented is that people supported them who should have known better, and probably did - for example, Mead not being able to speak the languages should surely have been flagged as suspicious. Freud is a similar example, of course, and Boas, and, in Britain Cyril Burt. In all these cases, serious criticism only surfaced long after their deaths; probably there's some correlation with career paths and retirement of their pupils. Incidentally they all continued to have supporters, always (I think) from people who have a vested interest in their ideas, and who therefore are reluctant to let them be demolished. (See Amazon book reviews of Margaret Mead, for example). We should collect together as many examples as possible (including from the past - arguably, much of the entire history of medicine from Greek times onward was largely fraudulent). And try to see general laws - as recommended by Francis Bacon.

But of course, despite their importance in shaping underlying beliefs that determine policy (e.g. immigration), these are financially small beer compared with vast military-industrial and nuclear-industrial and space-industrial frauds.
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 06 Jun 2011 00:12

It might be as important to look at what a fraud in science might be trying to break down or destroy, as much as trying to see who gets money benefits from it. It appears that both Mead and Kinsey were trying to break down traditional Western morals. But why? Because immoral people are easier to enslave?

I am thinking about how credit is given to the Chinese for inventing paper money. Wasn't Marco Polo credited with bringing that revelation to the West? But Marco Polo didn't write Marco Polo's book about China. Polo got put into prison, and another guy in there, who I think was jewish, actually wrote the book.

While this was happening, there was an effort to introduce paper money into England. So the account of the Chinese using paper money in all their transactions, and of how well it worked, was an example to look to in order to introduce paper money into England.

But, wait a minute: Was the story written by the jewish ghostwriter about the Chinese using paper money really true, or did he make it up as propaganda, to get the English warmed up to the idea of paper money?
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science Frauds

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 09 Jun 2011 22:10

Morton neither manipulated his skull samples, unfairly selected which data to report, skewed results by gender, or ignored his mistakes to favor racist interpretations of his skulls, the PLoS Biology study authors conclude -- all charges made by Gould against the long-dead physician.

What's more, the researchers found Gould made some mistakes in his re-analysis of Morton. "Our analysis of Gould's claims reveals that most of Gould's criticisms are poorly supported or falsified," they conclude: ... -dispute/1

Stephen Jay Gould mismeasured skulls in racial records dispute
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Fraud

Postby rerevisionist » 28 Jun 2011 07:54

Brilliant point about Marco Polo and paper money by FirstClassSkeptic (warming up Europeans to the idea of paper money?), and inventing things with destructive intent. Kevin MacDonald discusses the genetics of groups which fall into this category. There was an upsurge of books on China, Persia, Japan, the Americas, Africa I suppose from the time of Columbus and the other sailing ship explorers. And of course they could introduce propaganda if they wanted to. Then people could quote the new received wisdom. Shakespeare wrote The Tempest; Voltaire and Rousseau both used anthropological information; after them there were books on the 'exploitation' theme, usually calculated to avoid awkward facts such as the genuinely primitive beliefs and activities. There were reports from around the world of virgin births of gods, which were used to ridicule Christianity - it occurs to me now to wonder how truthful they were. Margaret Mead's fantasy of sexual freedom in Samoa is a much later example.
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Fraud   1 of 2

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 03 Jul 2011 01:00

The most famous Chinese issuer of paper money was Kublai Khan, the Mongol who ruled the Chinese empire in the 13th century. Kublai Khan established currency credibility by decreeing that his paper money must be accepted by traders on pain of death. As further enforcment of his mandate, he confiscated all gold and silver, even if it was brought in by foreign traders. Marco Polo was impressed by the efficiency of the Chinese system, as he chronicles in his The Travels of Marco Polo (Il Milione).
"All these pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver; and on every piece a variety of officials, whose duty it is, have to write their names, and to put their seals. And when all is prepared duly, the chief officer deputed by the Khan smears the seal entrusted to him with vermilion, and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the seal remains imprinted upon it in red; the money is then authentic. Anyone forging it would be punished with death. And the Khan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasure of the world." ... rmoney.htm

When the Mongols came to power in China, they issued a quaint form of paper money called 'silk notes'. The deposits behind this currency were not precious metals but bundles of silk yarn. All older money had to be cashed in and exchanged for silk notes, and the Mongols spread this unified currency all over the Empire and even beyond. By 1294, Chinese silk notes were being used as money as far afield as Persia. In 1965, two specimens of 'silk notes' were found by archeologists.

When Marco Polo visited China, he was so impressed by paper money that he wrote a whole chapter about it, describing everything about its manufacture and circulation. He described the manner in which it was issued:

Marco Polo spreads China's idea of paper money
1275 - 1292

Marco, a gifted linguist and master of four languages, became a favorite with the khan and was appointed to high posts in his administration. He served at the Khan's court and was sent on a number of special missions in China, Burma and India. Many places which Marco saw were not seen again by Europeans until last century. Marco went on great length to describe Kublia's capital, ceremonies, hunting and public assistance, and they were all to be found on a much smaller scale in Europe.However there were some phenomena which were totally new to him. The first we have already met, asbestos, but the other three beggared his imagination, and they were paper currency, coal and the imperial post.

The idea of paper substituting gold and silver was a total surprise even to the merchantile Polos. Marco attributed the success of paper money to Kublai stature as a ruler. "With these pieces of paper they can buy anything and pay for anything. And I can tell you that the papers that reckon as ten bezants do not weight one."

Some eminent historians still refute his claims to have travelled through China, though Chinese historians have found obscure names and facts in his account that could only have been known to someone intimate with the land. Casting further doubt upon his stories, Marco's ghost writer, Rustichello, a favourite of the English monarchy at the time, was renowned for his works of fiction, fables and romantic tales of the legendary King Arthur.

A traveller and a writer of fiction, it is little wonder that few believed Marco's wild stories. And yet on his death bed, when asked to confess his lies and tell the truth, Marco is said to have replied, "I have not told half of what I saw."

He wrote the account of his travels in 1298 while imprisoned in Genoa (or rather, he described his travels to a French writer named Rustichello who wrote the actual book for him).

Marco Polo's book became enormously influential and served in Europe as one of the primary sources of information about the Orient for many centuries.

Some scholars now suspect, however, that Marco Polo never went to China. The argument for this case has been laid out by Frances Wood in her book Did Marco Polo Go to China?

The basic argument against Marco Polo involves a set of telling omissions. First of all, no reference has ever been found in Chinese archives to an Italian visitor like Marco Polo, despite the fact that China's bureaucrats kept numerous forms of documentation and recorded the presence of many other westerners. If Marco Polo really did serve as a special emissary to the Great Khan, it seems unusual that his presence would never have been noted.

Second of all, Polo's account omits many details about Chinese culture that seemed very important to almost all later European travellers. For instance, Wood notes Polo's "apparent failure to pick up even a few Chinese or Mongol place-names in his seventeen-year stay in China." Nor does he ever mention the Chinese style of writing, despite the dramatic difference between Chinese script and the Roman alphabet.

Marco Polo does not mention seeing woodblock printing, which was then unknown in Europe. He never mentions the Chinese custom of drinking tea (also unknown in Europe at that time), despite the fact that he discusses varieties of Chinese wine. He never mentions the practice of foot-binding, even though this custom fascinated all other Europeans who travelled to China. He never mentions the use of chopsticks; and finally, he fails to mention the Great Wall of China.

Marco Polo did, however, identify some important features of Chinese society. For instance, he described porcelain, the use of coal, and the use of paper money—all unknown to Europeans in the thirteenth century. Nevertheless, it is still hard to imagine that someone could actually go to China and manage to miss all the details that he missed.

Wood suggests that Marco Polo probably never travelled further than his family's trading posts on the Black Sea, but that he had access to Persian or Arabic guidebooks to China from which he was able to piece together his account of China. He probably wrote his account in response to a growing demand for geographies during the late thirteenth century. ... arco_polo/

Hmm, the Museum of Hoaxes. I wonder? Would they be interested in the atomic bomb hoax?
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Fraud

Postby rerevisionist » 03 Jul 2011 01:30

Very convincing and attractive piece, FCS. Is that all your own interpretation of Marco Polo? It sounds original to me; but I've made no attempt to check it out - whether the other chap was a Jew. It was quite early: in Elizabeth I's time, the Treasury was just that - an all-cash affair from which expenses were paid and into which taxes and levies etc came, presumably as in 'the king/queen was in the counting house counting up his/her money..'. Elizabeth was more or less exactly 200 years later. I wouldn't be surprised if the paper money was linked with interest, in fact, which came in with Henry VIII.

Silk isn't the same as paper, as it can be quite valuable. I'm told Mongol horsemen wore silk shirts, which provided some protection against arrows - if the point didn't go too far in, the silk helped ease it out, and also reduced infection. Interesting because the supply could be increased pretty much indefinitely, unlike gold, though it needed the right type of mulberry trees, which would take time to grow, plus a lot of labour. So in principle 'silk notes' could eventually be paid off, unike gold which had been fractionally over-promised by paper. (Come to think of it, Lipsey mentions 'big stones' as a form of currency disliked by a missionary. Then there are cowrie shells. And tokens in sieges. And cigarettes in prisons and camps. And cattle - Lobengula had a huge collection of cattle. And von Mises advocated several paper currencies at once, as in fact happened in the parts of Europe where he was brought up).
    [Inserted 17 Oct 2016: It occurs to me that the primacy of e.g. cowrie shells and stones may be a myth: they may have been invented imitatively, as Cargo Cults were imitative. rerev]

Can I separate and reclassify the Marco Polo posts? How about
Psychology and Economics of Scientific and Weapons Frauds as before
Psychology and Economics of Social Change Frauds with this sub-thread and others, e.g. Frankfurt School and Gramsci

I'm not sure if 'frauds' is quite right, since there are arguments in favour of paper money. Gold (and e.g. silver) has 'value', but also liability to theft, and liability to fluctuations in quantity - while state (or local) paper money has the support of the entire state apparatus, but is then liable to state failure or incompetence. However, if the object of promoting paper money is to pocket large chunks of it, then suppressing comment on that aspect is fraudulent in the same way that arms manufacturers suppressing comment on their profits is something like 'fraud' or 'corruption'.

What do you think?
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Fraud

Postby FirstClassSkeptic » 03 Jul 2011 13:47

I was wondering if Rustichello or Polo had made up the paper money thing. But it appears that other sources also support that China had paper money, or really, silk money. At the least, though, they may have been exaggerating how well it worked.

There was another article, which I may have failed to post here, which gave me the impression that Khan only used the notes to pay governmental workers and suppliers. Like Roman soldiers were payed in salt, maybe mongolian soldiers were paid in silk?

And, also, I didn't find a connection to where England bankers were trying at that time to introduce paper money.

In 1694 the Bank of England was established in order to raise money for King William III’s war against France. Almost immediately the Bank started to issue notes in return for deposits.

From 1292 to 1694 would be 400 years. So maybe Polo's book wasn't that crucial. ... istory.htm
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Re: The Sociology and Economics of Science and Weapons Fraud

Postby rerevisionist » 03 Jul 2011 19:06

Well, remember that banking got under way first in Italy, centuries before the Bank of England, and/or Venice as a separate republic. Its rise is often attributed to the invention of 'double entry book-keeping' but I suspect this may be a bit of misdirection. However, it's not science or weapons or psychology - how about reclassifying this part of the thread?
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