It’s all very tortured

| December 5, 2017

Sinclair Davidson, a professor of economics in Australia, is due to tell the attendees at a dinner in Brussels on Thursday how it is possible to manipulate data to justify public policy.

The dinner is being hosted by the European smokers’ group Forest EU and the title of Davidson’s talk will be: ‘How to torture data to justify public policy’.

The event is due to address a number of questions including:

  • How do public health groups cheat, change the rules of the game and move the goalposts without getting caught?
  • Are public health organizations in the process of being disrupted?
  • Five years on since it was introduced in Australia, has the mandatory standardized packaging of tobacco been a success or a failure?

Davidson is professor of institutional economics, finance and marketing at RMIT [Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology] University. He is also a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and academic fellow at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Speaking ahead of the event, Davidson said that government had lost its way. “Since abandoning its role as an impartial player in society it has taken to abusing the trust civil society invests in government,” he said. “The corresponding abuse of evidence based policy should alarm everyone with an interest in good policy.”

Meanwhile, Guillaume Périgois, spokesman for Forest EU, said too many regulations designed to advance public health were based not on undisputed evidence but on flawed data and wishful thinking.

“The danger is that inaccurate or cherry-picked data will be used to justify more nanny state policies, from higher taxation to alarmist warnings and further restrictions on lifestyle choices,” he said.

“Anyone who cares about scientific probity and good governance should be concerned by the questionable data that is often peddled by lobby groups and government officials.

“It’s time to question and hold to account the public health industry and the flawed and tortured information it frequently disseminates.”

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Category: Breaking News, Packaging, Regulation

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