In order to have an organized society, it makes sense to have "experts" in an area. Health, let's say.
So, when issues about health come up, you go to the health experts. They give their opinions, they lead research on health issues, and they say what's good for your health and what's bad. And you believe them.
But what happens when this group of experts is contaminated? What happens when they begin bending their opinions of what's good or bad based on who pays the most? This is a well-known effect in all areas of expertise called "regulatory capture." It's when people who make decisions in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for instance, take high-paying jobs with the very companies they decided issues for/against.
This spells trouble.
And, unfortunately, the FDA is contaminated by dirty money. The FDA made decisions to bring products like Vioxx onto the market, despite volumes of evidence showing that Vioxx caused heart attacks. Once Merck took Vioxx off the market, the FDA decided it would be okay to bring it back, all based purely on a "pay for play" mentality.
There is no question that the FDA is corrupted.
But the question we have before us is this: What do we do? If we can no longer trust "the experts" who do we trust? Do we move to a system of "ask your pal" where everyone and no one is an expert? Or do we set up a new panel of experts, as easily corruptible as the first?
There is no easy answer. Your comments are welcome.