In his essay “Six Cautionary Tales for Scientists,” Freeman Dyson warns against “the game of status seeking, organized around committees.” (Dyson, 1992). It is not that committees are the root of evil, he writes, but that when presented with a choice between incremental, practical solutions and grand schemes that attract attention, committees have every incentive to choose the latter—even if the choice has a high probability of failure. Often the committees present the grand scheme as the only choice, an all-or-nothing proposition.

You do not currently have access to this article.