Scientific and technological progress has stalled. There is no lack of funding for research and development, but our current systems disincentivize genuine risk-taking and innovation.
At the same time, there are areas in which we know how to advance social goals, but ignore the relevant knowledge for political reasons. Social scientists understand a great deal about how to prevent crime and build affordable infrastructure, but politics often makes it difficult to do what is right.
CSPI supports research into the social, structural, and psychological factors obstructing progress. We are also interested in ideas and policies that can spur scientific and technological innovation.
In the last decade, white liberals in America have shifted far to the left on issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Ideas once seen as radical, like defunding the police and gender being on a spectrum, are embraced by more people than ever before.
Social scientists know little about the social and psychological factors underlying this “Great Awokening.” Is wokeness a status competition among elites? An extension of WEIRD (Western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic) morality? Or something new altogether?
CSPI is interested in funding scholars studying woke attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. We are also interested in work examining the impact of woke policies and practices on organizational culture and performance.
The sacralization of physical and emotional safety is a worrying trend. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the inability of public health officials to consider the tradeoffs between physical safety and personal freedom.
Progress in science and technology is impossible without physical risk. Progress in ethics and politics is impossible without emotional risk. Yet, society and government seem to be becoming more risk-averse.
CSPI welcomes work investigating the origins, nature, and effects of safetyism. We are also interested in policies and practices that reduce risk aversion or encourage better cost-benefit analysis.
CSPI believes in the importance of science. However, we think much of what is considered science is better understood as scientism: the use of scientific language and concepts without much actual rigor or objectivity.
Today we are constantly told to “trust the science” and “listen to the experts.” Thus, it has never been more important to point out bad science when we see it and question the nature of scientific authority. Our scholars have criticized questionable research practices and political bias in fields such as international relations, epidemiology, and psychology.
CSPI welcomes work that challenges bad scientific practices, debunks established findings, or explains modern reverence for scientific authority and expertise in political matters.
Public institutions used to pride themselves on being politically neutral, but this is no longer the case. Institutions such as schools, universities, and public health bureaucracies now take public stances on polarizing issues and let political ideology undermine their functioning.
Private companies are being politicized too. Media, tech, and big business actively signal their political affiliations and incorporate them into their products and marketing.
We believe that government policy along with ever-growing bureaucracy are responsible for much of the failure of institutions we see. CSPI is interested in understanding such phenomena and their potential policy implications.