July 18, 2007
GREGG EASTERBROOK: Ignoring the greatest living American.
UPDATE: Reader Richard Fagin emails:
Gregg Easterbrook has it half right about why Norman Borlaug is ignored by the press. It's not because he spent his life serving the poor, per se. Press accounts are filled with stories about those who serve the poor. It's that Mr. Borlaug didn't serve the poor by giving away other people's money, or by demanding that other people give away their money. He served the poor by DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGY, which in the view of the press is just as evil as making money, if for no other reason than someone makes money from the developed technology.
You won't see any accolades afforded all the brilliant researchers at GE Medical Systems, Pfizer, Merck, Glaxo, Medtronic, or you name it, for precisely the same reason.
Good point. In fact, I had a post a while back pointing out how the anti-arrhythmic drug Tikosyn has given my wife a new lease on life, more or less literally. I got a thank-you note from the President of Pfizer, which suggests to me that the pharma guys are a bit starved for praise. They shouldn't be. As Fagin notes, they do more good than the do-gooders.