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The Political Economy of DSM-5

The American Psychiatric Association just reported a surprisingly large yearly deficit of $350,000. This was caused by reduced publishing profits, poor attendance at its annual meeting, rapidly declining membership, and wasteful spending on DSM-5. APA reserves are now below ” the recommended amount for a non-profit (reserves equal to a year’s operating expenses).”

APA has already spent an astounding $25 million on DSM-5. I can’t imagine where all that money went. As I recall it, DSM-IV cost about $5 million and more than half of this came from outside research grants. Even if the DSM-5 product were made of gold instead of lead, $25 million would be wildly out of proportion. The rampant disorganization of DSM-5 must have caused colossal waste. One obvious example is the $3 million spent on the useless DSM-5 field trial—with its irrelevant question, poorly conceived design, and embarrassing results.

Because APA is left holding these huge IOU’s, it will be doubly desperate to begin recouping on its misguided investment. The bad financial report will ratchet up the pressure to publish DSM-5 in its current sorry state as scheduled next May—despite the fact that it has badly flunked its own field test and now still requires extensive editing and retesting before being anywhere near fit for use.

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