Institute for Policy and Management Research

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The Institute for Policy and Management Research was supposedly an academic think-tank at UCLA Berkley. It was used to launder tobacco industry payments to Dr Aaron Wildavsky. A Google search on the full name of the Institute found only 7 results, three of which had "Aaron Wildavsky" also. It was then housed at Santa Monica, California.

Only one of these publications reveal obvious signs of his work for the tobacco industry. They probably weren't published outside the industry circles.

He appears to have been in favour with the tobacco lobbyists because:

  • He wrote on risk-management, and this theory could be used to confuse the issues about lung-cancer and cigarettes
  • He attacked the use of the Precautionary Principle
  • He wrote about the 'socio-legal' history of tobacco tort litigation

The Risk of Smoking

  • One obvious pro-smoking document in circulation now is his editing of "Pollution as moral coercion: culture, risk perception, and libertarian values" published in 1982 through the Cato Institute. (a common way for the tobacco industry to hide its involvement)

What is pollution? According to Peter H. Aranson," Public policy regards as pollution any man-made or naturally occurring substance (for example, smoke or sewage) or condition (for example, noise, heat, or radiation) that is believed to threaten human health ...)

  • Another favourable mention of Wildavsky and smoking is from The perils of the precautionary principle: lessons from the American and European experience an article by John D Graham published by the ]]Heritage Foundation.]]
  • Aaron Wildavsky and Adam Wildavsky in their book "Risk and Safety say: Another questionable assumption is that cancer causation is a linear process, meaning that there is no safe dose and that damage occurs at a constant rate as exposure increases.

This statement sits directly above a table which shows one-pack-a-day smokers are in the very highest risk category at about a hundred times the risk of death than hunting. [2]

  • In a multi-author volume (Cutting Green Tape: Toxic Pollutants, Environmental Regulation, and the Law) (prepare for The Independent Institute, he has written a chapter on Regulation of Carcinogens: Are Animal Tests a Sound Foundation? He argues against just giving up, since the damage would probably have been done long before. The smoker must consider "the adverse effects of that amount of smoking, and the probability that something else will kill them before they die of smoking-related causes". [3]

In fact the think-tanks that publish Wildavsky's material reveal more about his academic standing than the rubbish he writes.

Documents and Timelines

The International Committee on Smoking Issues (ICOSI) was a European-based organisation of executives and lobbyists for the global tobacco industry which was established to combat the growing pressures to fight against smoking, both for health and comfort reasons. It did so by recruiting recognised experts to perform various tasks. The main aim was to confuse scientific, medical and economic arguments. Aaron Wildavsky was fierce partisan warrior against Communism, and the tobacco industry realised that he could be most effectively used to discredit anti-smoking activists by suggesting that they were ideologically bent towards Communism. As with most other academics, he didn't want to be paid directly for his services, so the Institute was enlisted to launder his payments.

1979 Professors Richard E Wagner and Robert Tollison began working with the tobacco industry's international propaganda organisation, ICOSI (International Committee on Smoking Issues) at this time. ICOSI was also recruiting a number of other academics -- from toxicologists to sociologists; philosophers and economists. Aaron Wildavsky was one of their first, and he was paid today's equivalent of about a million dollars for his very limited services.

The International Committee on Smoking Issues (ICOSI) was put together by the international tobacco companies at a secret meeting in the UK, under the code-name "Operation Berkshire".

ICOSI had a number of sub-committees, one of which was the Social Acceptability Working Party (SAWP) which hired consultant George Berman of Devon Management in the USA to create a small cabal of prominent academics who would work for the industry without revealing their connections. The most prominent of these were:

1979 Jan 30 Tobacco law firm, Jacob & Medinger (J&M) presents a supplementary bill for the consultant's services. They have added a few new names and entries for ICOSI/SAWP operations:

Also another account:

[Note: SA1 refers to the secret set of accounts that the tobacco industry ran through the J&M lawyers to hide payments from discovery. SA1 = Special Account #1. The numbers corresponded to their current list of Special Projects. These projects and accounts were kept hidden from the Scientific Advisory Boards and from everyone else not in the core group of tobacco conspirators. The lawyers had their own Special Project accounts, and Philip Morris also used the system internally.]

Also awaiting approval was an account for

[Note: Weiss/Watson refers to an article written by an anti-smoking professor of Accountancy at Seattle University who had pointed out that the additional business cost of hiring each smoker was about $4,789 a year. Professor J Keith Watson of Auburn University was paid to write a rebuttal of the claim.]

Estimates for month of June were

George Berman's analysis of Social Cost problems and strategy.
(May 1979) ICOSI consultant George Berman pointed to the rising clamour about the cost to various countries of smoking-related diseases which are paid for by the wider society.

It would be pointless to just dispute these arguments with similar data, to attack their numbers with our numbers. Instead, our strategy is to attack the concept of social cost analysis. We have found that these concepts are most vulnerable. If we can undermine the concepts, then we do not have to enter into public debate over specific numbers. Our attack consists of four major themes:

  1. These Social Cost concepts are bad economics
  2. They do not fit into a philosophy of personal freedom and civil liberty.
  3. Smoking benefits the society and its members in many complex ways
  4. Anti-smoking programs and groups are harmful to our society.
He goes on to develop arguments about the countermeasures he believes to be necessary. Firstly he attacks cost-benefit analysis, saying:

"The application of social cost analysis to smoking is defective economics applied to uncertain data. To develop this point we have called on two leading economists from the Center for Study of Public Choice , at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

He has also asked others to contribute: The list shows:

  • Dr Richard Wagner
  • Dr Robert Tollison (see material below).
  • Dr Robert Nozick, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University HE IS A prominent guru of Libertarianism.
  • Sherwin J Feinhandler, President of Social Systems Analysts and lecturer at Harvard University Medical School wrote on How smoking defines your personal space!
  • Dr Peter Berger Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University who notes that many techniques which strengthen the position of the religious advocate are found among anti-smokers: "Elitism Messianic Drive, Punishment... Class Antagonism.
  • Dr Aaron Wildavsky, of UCLA Berkeley isolate and define the motivations and the alliances of the active anti-smoking leadership. They are anti-capitalist, anti-industrial, anti-multinational and countermodern.
[Note: Wildavsky was paid through the Instititute for Policy and Management Research]

1979 May 14George Berman, has prepared a speech to be delivered at a meeting of the ICOSI group in Europe (later INFOTAB) He plans to discuss Social Costs - Social Values to introduce European tobacco lobbyists associated with the Social Acceptability Working Party (SAWP) to the concepts of economics -- and to acquaint them with ICOSI's strategy to counter Social Cost claims.

'[Note: The claims he challenges are that smokers impose an 'external' cost on society, and therefore high cigarette excises are justified.
SAWP counter this with a 'rights' argument: that non-smokers must accept the right of smokers to smoke.]

Berman has put together a core team of US academics -- and this speech is an attempt to widen his group by also recruiting European academics.

He identifies their academic helpers:

  • Richard Wagner and Robert Tollison are two economists who are willing to help the industry.

    Dr Richard E Wagner is the author of 11 books and monographs, and over 20 articles in the field of public finance and economics. During the last six months he was Visiting Professor of Economics at the renowned University Of Konstanz.

His colleague, Dr Robert Tollison has served as a consultant to the US government Treasury Department, Commerce Department, Office of Technology Assessment and the Council On Wage And Price Stability. These two gentlemen are co-authors of a forthcoming book called Personal Liberty, State Action And Economic Coordination , a title which certainly covers the subject of this project. The economists working on this project are first developing a "Layman's Guide" to social cost/benefit analysis. This Layman's Guide will include the participation of economists from countries other than the United States. When a basic position has been established, the economists will examine closely the social cost papers which have appeared in each country. A critique of each paper will be filed with ICOSI alongside the paper itself..

This will provide us with a weapon against arbitrary, careless attacks using "Social Cost" as a rationale.

[SEE long refererence in ICOSI to the rest of this rvealings speach, detailing the role to be played by the other academic participants + quotes]

  • Robert Nozick -- an eminent US philosopher.
  • Sherwin J Feinhandler - US cultural anthropologist
  • Dr Peter Berger a sociologist and author.
  • Dr Wildavsky is a UCLA, Berkely political scientist.   

1979 Dec Annual reconciliation for Special Account #1 (Jan-Dec 79). Payments were made originally via RJ Reynolds and then refunded by ICOSI.

  • Prof. Aaron Wildavsky paid [Inst.Policy & Mgmt Res,] $16,000 (Mar); $20,283 (June); $30,204 (Jul); $2951 (Oct) -- $122,124 for the year.
  • Prof. Sherwin Finehandler (Social Systems Analysts) paid $15,642 (June), $29,296 in July, $37.358 in Oct -- $82,296 for the year
  • Prof.Robert Tollison paid $2157 (Mar); $2000 (June); $2693 (Jul); $1672 (Oct) -- $ 8,521
  • Prof Richard Wagner paid $1740 (Mar); $2000 (June); $3208 (Jul); $1600 (Oct) -- $ 8,548
  • Prof. Robert McCormick paid $1,125 in May
  • Prof. Peter Berger paid $ 1,500 (May); $855 (Jul) -- $2,355
  • Prof. Edward Harris paid $2,900 (May); $2850 (Jul); $6080 (Oct) -- $11,830
  • Prof. Steven Littlechild paid $1877 (July); $2,446 (Oct) -- $4,323
  • Prof Norman Heimstra received $12,998 in October
  • Prof Robert Nozick received $8,104 in July
  • D Maxey received $4,000 in October (Margaret??)