Things all academics fear?

That somebody powerful might actually use their research. From the NY Times, an example from a warlord in South Sudan:

Mr. Machar is plotting the offensive on the oil fields from a hide-out in Upper Nile State. It is a quiet outpost, save the incessant chirping of birds, and the former vice president keeps company with a small team of bodyguards. He has a satellite phone and a shiny touch-screen tablet in a battered brown case, and in his free time he is working through a paperback copy of “Why Nations Fail.”

I don’t lie awake at night worried someone important will read my research papers. I mean, who would? But I do live in terror that someone important will one day take my idle blog posts seriously.

42 thoughts on “Things all academics fear?

  1. Well Hello. It is difficult to get a connection in the bush. I notice your comments come from big names in the Development World. One of my advantages in following these blogs when I get a connection is that I learn more and more about the people that I will have to contact to help me run the country when the war is over. Also, I do know I will be in power soon enough and have a country to run — not to mention a seat in the UN. It is unfair to think that I cannot learn, in advance of victory, from experts on how to run my country when I eventually come to power. In fact, I do think I should offer quite a few of you consultancy work. But while your thinking about that please allow me to speak to Commander Youngblood of my Second Juvenile Division. The pincer movement is getting stuck on his side. But I should be in touch in a couple of months at the most.

    Chilling isn’t it. am. Today’s villain is -with an appropriate international settlement – tomorrow’s employer.