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I would recommend you a lecture by William Black (the Savings and Loans guy) regarding the competition between good and bad behavior in an environment which is permissive to bad behavior. Bad behavior outcompetes and exterminates good behavior.

Let me give an example:
Imagine that you are a serious researcher in epidemiology. You will find it unacceptable to publish a paper on "eradicating disease X in Y years", as it will be unrealistic and BS. You will maybe work in more realistic control measures. Something a bit more obscure than "total eradication".
The other gal/guy that competes with you, will do a paper on "eradicating the disease".
Which one will be published in a better journal, attract more funding, get you in with the people who have decision power?
In a serious environment the second person would be ridiculed. But in an environment as it is today, the second person will progress and the first (with their "irrelevant" topics) will perish.

Another example:
If I find a problem in the work of a colleague, and tell the colleague, what will be his/her answer? In a serious environment the colleague will rush to the publication where the wrong work was published and issue a correction or a retraction. In today's environment it will probably ignore your comment and will become your ENEMY if you make it public.

This being said I can find many cases where people still behave in a moral way, but it is not clear that it is the rule.

Be serious and perish.
[Not fair to all areas]

by t-------------- on Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 at 07:45:12 AM EST
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