This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
— A cash-for-comments economists on the Savarese list. However there is no record of him actively providing witness or op-ed services to the tobacco industry. —
Professor Boon Yoon is an economist at the State University of New York. He appears briefly on the Tobacco Institute's list of cash-for-comments economists, but there are only four documents with his name in the tobacco archives (all variations on this list)
See the Tobacco Institute's list of cash-for-comments economists
The 1985 Tobacco Institute document, "Federal Markets", which was sent to the Tobacco Institute's Regional and State Directors, provided a long list of the likely allies the industry had among academic economists in opposing the earmarking of cigarette excises for healthcare and for other purposes. The industry was particularly interested in attacking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which it always feared would attempt to regulate cigarettes as a drug.
The Tobacco Institute's contractors kept a registry of those academics available to write articles or letters on demand, provide witness services at legislative or local ordinance hearings, etc. or give lectures to various influential bodies — or have one-to-one meetings with legislators. They were never required to divulge the industry connections, and they were never required to make any outright statement in support of smoking ... in fact, the complete opposite. Those who could maintain proudly that they were non-smokers were seen to be more sensible, and to have more credibility with the gullible readers who thought that political influence involved brass-bands and flag waving zealots.
Writing economic and political op-ed pieces and letters to the editor were the easiest way for these academics to earn some quick cash without sticking their neck out enough to be noticed. In their articles they attacked the principle of cigarette taxes, not the taxes themselves. They attacked the idea of the FDA extending its mandate, rather than the question of whether nicotine was a drug.
Payments were laundered through a couple of channels linked to the George Mason University's Center for the Study of Public Choice and its director Robert Tollison, and also through a labor/economics lobbyist named James Savarese.
The purpose of the network was to provide propaganda and lobbying services to the tobacco industry in all 50 US States, utilizing trusted and prominent academics at the local universities, and the scam ran very successfully for a couple of decades. It was considered influential enough for the Tobacco Institute to continue its funding when other projects suffered budget cuts. As a result, hundreds of op-ed articles appeared in many dozens of influential newspapers across America.
For more background information on how Savarese, Tollison and the Tobacco Institute operated these networks, see:
|Content vs. Purpose?|
|The question is not what was said in these articles, but rather the reasons why they were written. |
If your vision of economics is merely that it is a form of commercial bookkeeping which can be considered in isolation (a view that almost universally prevailed in academia until the global financial crisis), then ethics, morality, and human well-being doesn't figure strongly in your calculations outside the value of humans as production and consumption units.
Clearly the early deaths of many older and disabled people [those who have passed their social usefulness and are a burden on the tax system] is of benefit to the survivors and therefore to the national economy as a whole. Smokers who are taxed during their smoking lives and then die young, in this calculus therefore benefit their communities by not becoming a burden.
It then follows that cigarette manufacture cannot be considered a social burden, but rather as pure economic benefit.
This sort of superficial analysis digs no deeper into the complexities of life, living and society than you would find in the preface of a Chicago University Economics 101 textbook written by the supply-sides and neo-cons.
Of course the same arguments can apply to euthenasia of the disabled and the elderly ... and perhaps to the hanging of all academic economists who propound this sort of simplistic nonsense.
Some key documents
• Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Binghamton.
1987 Feb 6: James Savarese has finalised his list of compliant economists, and sends them to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. It lists all the familiar cash-for-comment economists. [See hotlinks on left]
Now well-established network economists: plus four new ones.
Lee Anderson, Terry Anderson, Dom Armentano, Cecil Bohanon, Thomas Borcherding, Henry Butler, Jeffrey R Clark, John David, Allan Dalton, Arthur Denzau, Clifford Dobitz, Robert Ekelund, David Gay, Anne Harper-Fender, Dennis Hein, John Howe, William Hunter, Joe Jadlow, Michael Kurth, Suuner LaCroix, Dwight Lee, C Matt Lindsay, Dennis Logue, Chuck Mason [Masen], Charles Maurice, Fred McChesney, Robert McMahon, Arthur Mead, Wm Mitchell, Allen Parkman, William Peterson, Thomas Pogue, Barry Poulson, Raymond Raab, Simon Rottenberg, Mark Schmitz, Richard Vedder, Richard Wagner
- Greg Neihaus, [aka Neuhaus] University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Mario Rizzo, New York University NY
- Roger Riefler, Uni of Nebraska, Lincoln
- Boon Yoon, State Uni of New York, Binghamton, NY
1987 Feb 11: Jeff Rose at the Tobacco Institute transfers the Saverese list to his associates Hurst Marshall and George Minshew. They now have economists in 41 states willing to write op-ed articles for them.
1987 Feb 6: This is the Tollison/Saverese network list of economists recruited until the end of 1986. It has 64 names, but it still doesn't cover all 50 States. Some States have two or three network members, so newspapers [and sometimes Congressmen] need to be specified for each member to ensure there is no accidental duplication.
Telephone numbers (office and home) are often included in case an urgent op-ed or ordinance hearing is needed. These are grouped by State:
Professor Mario Rizzo
269 Mercer Street Room 700 New York University
New York, New York 10003 212-598-7516
Professor Boon Yoon
Department of Economics State University of New York
Binghamton Binghamton, New York 13901 607-777-2689
It appears as if Professor Boon Yoon decided not to become involved. He is included here simply because his name appears on many of the Tobacco Institute lists.