I cover it all the time on this blog, because it occurs all the time. The latest high-profile case: Romania’s brand new education minister. Apparently he lifted large chunks of other people’s scientific papers.

The scandal comes after the new Social-Democrat prime minister was forced to drop his first candidate for the education portfolio after she was accused of plagiarism.

Of course it’s doubly embarrassing because it’s the education minister. Triply embarrassing because the first candidate for the position has also been accused.

How to explain the pan-plagiarist movement across Europe? And China? And Korea?

etc.

Here’s one theory: America is an anti-intellectual country; in places like Romania, intellectuality has extremely high status. In the US, if you want to make a status statement, you will buy an expensive car; in Europe… well, in Europe you’re likely to do this as well… But you will be as anxious, if you’re European, to display a Ph.D. as you will a Porsche. With everyone scrambling to get advanced degrees, the temptation to cheat becomes huge.

Yes, we’ve got plenty of plagiarists here at home; but it’s beginning to look downright endemic in other parts of the world (I can’t keep up with the Chinese and Korean cases).

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2 Responses to “The Puzzle of Plagiarism”

  1. Michael Tinkler Says:

    That’s it!
    I have never ceased to be amazed at the number of Doktors in Europe. In America, much less mileage for a PhD.

  2. theprofessor Says:

    Well, Michael, I don’t know about that. There are a few people in Mediocrevilleburgton who make what seems to be a very good living by shaking down our local companies as “facilitators” for various meetings. All carry business cards that prominently advertise themselves as DR. So-and-so Someone PH.D. (with PH.D. being a point or two larger in font size).

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