Thursday, December 3, 2009

Portions Of Gretchen Morgenson's New, "Rewritten" Version Of 2004 Book Were Copied Verbatim, Without Credit.

It turns out that several portions of NYT business reporter Gretchen Morgenson's new book, "The Capitalist's Bible," were copied nearly verbatim -- and without acknowledgement or credit -- from a 2004 Facts of File book, ""Encyclopedia of Capitalism."

In side-by-side comparisons of the two books, The NYTPicker has found numerous instances of identical or near-identical passages. This contradicts the new book's acknowledgement, which says only that the new book was produced "using some rewritten text" from the original book. It also refutes Morgenson's email to The NYTPicker this morning, which described the process as "rewriting" the source material.

Morgenson's email explains what isn't mentioned anywhere in her book, which is that her self-described "colleague" on the book, Golson Media -- and not Facts on File -- owns the copyright to the original book, and holds all rights to its contents. That fact is disclosed nowhere in the new book.

"The copyright to the Facts On File encyclopedia is held by Golson Books, Ltd., which has permission in writing from Facts On File to use the material in "The Capitalist's Bible," Morgenson told The NYTPicker. "Facts On File does not have, nor did it seek, approval rights for the rewritten material."

But nowhere in her email, or in the acknowledgement in the very back of her book, does it explain that the new book includes word-for-word lifts of text from the original Enclyclopedia -- which credits each entry to its individual author, often alongside a bibliography.

The new book by Morgenson -- a 2002 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting -- offers no bibliography, sources, or credit to individual writers. "I did much of the rewriting," Morgenson told The NYTPicker via email, "joined by staff writers for Golson Books, Ltd., and academic authors."

Morenson also declared to The NYTPicker that "the acknowledgement is sufficient and the placement appropriate," referring to its placement after the 5,490-page book's index, and including a reference only to "some rewritten text" from the Encyclopedia of Capitalism. The new book also makes no mention of Golson Media or its ownership of the copyright.

Below are five side-by-side examples of passages from The Encyclopedia of Capitalism, followed by a near-identical passage in The Capitalist's Bible, with no credit given to the original author, or acknowledgement made of the verbatim excerpt. These were found after only a brief scan of the two volumes, and represent only a small number of the many examples of verbatim text found by The NYTPicker:

laissez-faire

[John] Locke argued that humans, though concerned with self-interest, tend to do good, and join together into governmental or economic associations for mutual benefit, but not at the expense of natural liberty....Private property, one of Locke's fundamental natural rights shared by all humans, derives from a person putting forth labor to acquire goods from the public domain.
-- Encyclopedia of Capitalism, 2004

[John] Locke had argued that humans were essentially good despite their self-interest, and that governments were formed for mutual benefits, not the sacrifice of natural liberties....Private property, one of Locke's fundamental natural rights shared by all humans, derives from a person putting forth labor to acquire goods from the public domain.
-- The Capitalist's Bible, 2009
***
[Adam] Smith is usually identified as a proponent of economic liberalism, because he combined his optimistic view of economic competition and restrained self-interest with liberal assumptions of man's inherent goodness and collective goal to work for the interests of the common good. Unlike modern liberals, Smith believed that economic behavior did not require government intervention to achieve the maximum good for society. Goodness could not be imposed, but rather would be a natural consequence of human behavior. -- EOC, 2004

[Adam] Smith is usually categorized as classical liberal, because he combined his optimistic view of economic competition and restrained self-interest with the liberal assumptions of man's inherent goodness and collective goal to work for the interests of the common good. Unlike modern liberals, Smith believed that economic behavior did not require government intervention to achieve the maximum good for society. In his view, goodness couldn't be imposed -- it would be as natural consequence of human behavior, human nature. -- TCB, 2009

Globalization

For most developing countries, except those with oil to export, virtually the only way to engage in economic development is to secure international financing for projects beyond the capacities of their weak economies and and revenue structures. To qualify for international loans from most major banks, the IMF or World Bank must certify the borrower's willingness to service the debt. IMF counselors have established a standard, which requires the loan recipient to agree to structural adjustment plans. These often include: trade liberalization to encourage international investors; reducing and ending tariffs that may have protected infant industry; privatization of public sector enterprises and rationalizing public sector work by downsizing and reducing the number of public employees; ending subsidies for food products and services; devaluation of local currency; and expanding export production. -- EOC, 2004

For most developing countries without oil to export, one of the only opportunities for economic development is international financing for projects beyond the capabilities of the local economy. To qualify for international loans from most major banks, the IMF or World Bank must certify the borrower's willingness to service the debt. IMF counselors have established a standard, that requires the loan recipient to agree to structural adjustment plans. These often include trade liberalization to encourage international investors, reducing and ending tariffs that may have protected infant industries, privatization of public sector enterprises and rationalizing public sector work by downsizing and reducing the number of public employees, ending subsidies for fod products and services, devaluation of public currency, and expanding export production. -- TCB, 2009

Game Theory:

There are two distinct but related ways of describing a game mathematically. The extensive form is the moist detailed way. It describes play by means of a game tree that explicitly indicates when players move, which moves are available,and what they know about the moves of other players and the "state of nature" when they move. -- EOC, 2004

There are two distinct, but related ways of describing a game mathematically. The extensive form is the most detailed way. It describes play by means of a game tree (pictures it as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type of flowchart) that explicitly indicates when players move, which moves are available, and what they know about the moves of other players and the "state of nature" when the move. TCB, 2009

Central Banks

During the early 20th century, central banks discovered the power of monetary policy and have been exercising this power to influence macroeconomic events ever since. Monetary policy refers to the manipulation of the money supply and interest rates to achieve macroeconomic objectives. Central banks typically have a variety of tools at their disposal to conduct monetary policy including: altering the interest rate banks pay when they borrow from the central bank (known as the discount rate in the United states and the bank rate in Great Britain); changing reserve requirements (i.e., the portion of bank depositors' funds that banks must hold in liquid reserves); and engaging in "open market operations" (i.e., buying or selling bonds to alter the amount of cash reserves in the banking system). -- EOC< 2004

During the early 20th century, central banks discovered the power of monetary policy, and have been exercising this power to influence macroeconomic events ever since. Monetary policy refers to the manipulation of the money supply and interest rates in order to meet particular goals on a macroeconomic (that is, affecting the whole economy) scale. Central banks have a variety of tools at their disposal to conduct monetary policy, including altering the interest rate banks pay when they borrow from the dcentral bank (known as the discount rate in the United States), changing reserve requirements (the portion of depositors' funds that banks must hold in cash), and engaging in "open market operations" (that is, buying or selling bonds to alter the amount of cash reserves in the banking system.) -- TCB, 2009

EARLIER: Two-Thirds Of New Book Edited By Pulitzer Prize-Winning NYT Reporter Gretchen Morgenson Rewritten From Someone Else's 2004 Book.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gads. I don't know what to say. It's a 5000 page book. No single person writes a 5000 page book. Heck, I hesitate to call myself the author of anything write, except perhaps blather like this. I worship the copy editors who do so much for me. They are invaluable to all of us. (And, I might point out that Nytpicker him/herself has retracted several pieces that could have used a bit more editing. ) The editors never receive the credit they deserve.

Still, I guess the disclosure could have been a bit more explicit. In all probability Ms. Morgenson probably never even saw the disclaimer and didn't even have much to do with it. Just like visionary Pogue, some assistant to the deputy editor probably bollixed it up. You've got a right to grouse, I guess, but I don't think that anyone was fooled by the byline into thinking that Ms. Morgenson pounded the entire thing out in her spare time when she wasn't shaking her fist at the corporate elite.

I truly enjoy her column. I'm sure the parts that she wrote are great and I'm sure the parts written by some uncredited and undiscovered soul are just as good.

My guess is that the publisher dreamed this up as a way to repurpose some content.

Anonymous said...

Hey, wasn't Gretchen grousing just recently that Andrew Ross Sorkin didn't give her proper credit for her Times reporting in his book?

Maybe the whole business desk needs a refresher course in manners. That acknowledgement looks like it was written by a nervous lawyer, not a grateful writer.

Patrick said...

I am one of the original authors that Ms. Morgenson's book generously borrowed from without acknowledgement and I am furious! If one of my students committed an act of plagiarism this blatant I would do everything in my power to have them dismissed from my college.

Anonymous said...

Meh. If it was used with permission, who cares? It's a missing end note. Seriously, to try to turn this into plagiarism is silly.

ratelmotel said...

There's too much "meh" and not enough "thank you" going around these days.

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nejam uddin said...

Hello! Maybe the whole business desk needs a refresher course in manners. That acknowledgement looks like it was written by a nervous lawyer, not a grateful writer.
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