So here we are on the last day of 2010. Because New Years Day is on Saturday this year, a lot of people have the day off, joining all of us who are members of the long term un/underemployed in watching the world go by. I have the Kentucky-Louisville game on in the background and all I will say about that is "Go Hilltoppers!"
But I can't let the day go without highlighting a couple of end of the year news dump articles in today's NY Times. First up is this article on discussions on creating an Ethics Code for Academic Economists. After opening the article with a short list of some fairly well known political economists who also are in the university world and their undisclosed conflicts of interest the article goes on:
Academic economists, particularly those active in policy debates in Washington and Wall Street, are facing greater scrutiny of their outside activities these days. Faced with a run of criticism, including a popular movie, leaders of the American Economic Association, the world’s largest professional society for economists, founded in 1885, are considering a step that most other professions took a long time ago — adopting a code of ethical standards.
Now from my vantage as a professional in the field of Software Quality Assurance, the types of disclosure that are being discussed are an absolute bare minimum of an ethical code. I always go back to my first meeting with my new supervisor when I was just starting in the QA program at the Defense Contract Administration Services Plant Rep Office (DCASPRO) who said straight out "If it appears to be a conflict of interest, then by definition it IS a conflict of interest."