Science, the endless frontier of regulatory capture
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFutures. 2022, 135, 102860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2021.102860
In this paper we explore five recent cases of regulatory capture in Europe and zoom in on a form of corporate penetration which is based on a strategic use of the image and legitimacy of science. We examine cases in which lobbyists present themselves as upholders of science and of evidence-based policy, intervene directly in the methodological and ethical aspects of science for policy-making, thus imprinting their own agenda on the societal functions of science. We propose the existence of a process whereby private interest ascend an ideal ‘epistemic ladder’. In this vision, lobbying intervention moves from questioning the evidence to questioning its legitimacy, all the way to acting as to create a worldview where not only the evidence, but the very idea of regulation, become irrelevant or undesirable, other than as a vehicle for the pursuit of private interest. Caught in this project, science and its future appear vulnerable.