Academic Freedom

Earlier Tyler posted the story of Daniel Sumner, the agricultural economist at the University of California at Davis who has been accused of “treason” for analyzing US cotton subsidies for Brazil in a WTO case. One of the most troubling aspects of the case is that instead of backing him to the hilt, Sumner’s dean bowed to King Cotton and questioned his judgment.

Michael Ward a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Arlington (and a regular MR reader, I might add) has authored a Petition in Support of Academic Freedom stating in part:

To the extent that it is within their expertise and terms of employment:

1. It is appropriate for scholars to engage in public policy debates regardless of the comments’ effects on US producers or consumers.
2. It is appropriate for scholars to consult with interested parties in policy-making or judicial matters even when the adversary is the US government or US interests.

You can express your support here.


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