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Divided Expectations

Why We Need a New Dialogue about Science, Inequality, and Society

[ THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

Matthew Nisbet is professor of communication at Northeastern University and a Committee for Skeptical Inquiry scientific consultant. From 1997 and 1999, he was public relations director for CSI.

If you are reading this column, you have likely benefited from the scientific and technological advances that have transformed the world’s economy. For well-educated professionals who form the core audience for popular science magazines, these innovations have created new wealth and career opportunities. Yet paradoxically, the very success of the science and engineering sector has also created the conditions that have led so many others to distrust experts and the professional class. The same advances that have enriched those at the top of the global knowledge economy have also eliminated millions of jobs among those at the bottom, transforming entire industries and geographic regions, generating public resentment, and seeding political polarization.

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