June 24, 2009

We need warning signs placed on academics

Sir Devesh Kapur is perfectly right pointing a finger at academics for their not having been able to produce anything useful that could have helped to avoid the current crisis. Never have so many of those who were supposed to perform societal oversight done (and still do) so little. “Academics have more to declare than their genius” June 24.

But the real fundamental problem is not necessarily with the academics per se but more with those of them who venture into public life selling or allowing themselves to be sold as experts. Academician should be the first to know that at least in social sciences there are no real experts, just as there are no credit rating agencies that can guarantee a consistently good result. Therefore academics should at least come with a warning sign that reads “Believing an academic to be an expert could be extremely dangerous for the health of your portfolio.”