My motivation letter for a job about infectious disease dynamics

I wrote following email to an healthcare institute in Switzerland to ask a question about its job opening (mathematical modeling software for infectious disease dynamics) on 23. March, 2021:

Dear …

I couldn’t reach you by phone today. I have some questions about your job opening. 

Note: I applied for the job yesterday online, but the question is still motivation for me, as I tried to explain below.

I think, as an experienced software engineer, I have all the necessary skills and experience (in the technical sense) for developing such multi-faceted technical models. The question for me is rather the motivation.

My motivation would be finding permanent (sustainable) solutions to dangerous infectious diseases. Sustainable solution means for me, in most cases, local solutions related with the social and biological environment, including lifestyle and nourishment of people; not technological solutions imposed or controlled externally! 

If one really needs technological solutions (like well tested vaccines) in some cases, the information required for these solutions should openly be published and shared; not monopolized with mechanisms like patents.

External (i.e. imported, adopted) technological solutions can only be justified temporarily during the transition period, until a sustainable and self-sufficient local solution is established.

In other words, preventive “public healthcare” instead of “industrial healthcare” whenever and wherever possible.

But there is a problem here: Healthcare industry (like industrial agriculture) is not interested in sustainable local solutions because there is no money in it. No external control or manipulation means no money.

In January 2021, I completed writing (the first version of) my PhD thesis in economy & ecology: Why does mainstream (neoclassical) economics ignore ecology?

In case you find time and interest, I would recommend you to read A (intro) and B (conclusions) before diving into the details of other chapters.

Some health-related sections in my thesis are (related pictures are attached below):

  1. Parasitic Earnings that steal wealth from local communities and future generations
  2. Reducing healthcare to industrial healthcare (e.g. by ignoring the importance of environmental factors)
  3. Ecosystem Mutilation & Patching Business as perpetual money machine
  4. Curing symptoms instead of diseases
  5. Patent as parasitic institution (i.e. socialization of investments, privatization of profits)

My question:

What do you think about this dilemma in the context of your project? Sustainable solutions or profitable solutions? What is the end goal of your project?

Best regards
Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu

About me (software):

About me (person):

PS: Holistic, multi-disciplinary and integrated thinking (as required by this job) is my primary strength and weakness at the same time. Weakness, because one tends to ask inconvenient questions about the big picture and ultimate purpose, which is certainly an undesired feature for the money-oriented industry.


Do you wonder how the institute reacted to my motivation letter?

To summarize the chain of emails, they probably didn’t understand initially why I ask such questions about the ultimate purpose, because this job was only about mathematical modelling; a small part of the whole project.

When I explained, why I ask such questions about the big picture by referring to my principles as written in my CV (i.e. I don’t want to be a part of the Ecosystem Mutilation & Patching Business), and to a philosophy article by Nigel Warburton (The Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt, the man who didn’t ask questions) they told me that they would not be able to give me convincing answers in an email; I should check the content in the website of the institute.

And they wrote me, unless I explicitly ask them otherwise, they would consider my application as withdrawn. I didn’t reply to it, and that was the end of our email traffic.

I did read several pages of the website of the institute, like “about us” and “our missions”. My impression was, it looked more like a business website than a website of a scientific institute, with a typical business slang combined with the clichés of techno-science; drugs, medicines, vaccines etc. but no mention of sustainable local solutions. I guess, they generally work with patented (i.e. monopolized, profitable, pro business) technologies, instead of open technologies.

This application process illustrates, how conscientious people who dare to ask inconvenient questions about meaning & purpose (of a project) are systematically eliminated from the industrial (pro business & finance) economic and scientific system. I am sure, many people had similar experiences. This is a system of negative selection in the ethical sense.

Can I blame these (allegedly scientific and benevolent) people for not asking or understanding questions about meaning & purpose?

No, because most graduates of mainstream (industrial) education don’t have the necessary background in philosophy, ecology and history to tell the difference between real public science and industrial science. This is especially the case in a business and money oriented conservative country like Switzerland, as the outcome of the latest public poll about corporate justice initiative confirmed again. The whole education system needs a radical rethinking.

I guess, most people who work at this institute sincerely believe that they are respectable academicians, and they work for the good of humanity; not for the narrow interests of some money moguls and corporations. I guess, most of them don’t know, and don’t ever questioned the difference between public healthcare and industrial healthcare.

We need to question industrial science that serves to narrow business interests, rather than to humanity as a whole, including future generations.

Typically, industrial education produces tamed technicians for the corporate & state bureaucracy, who don’t dare to trespass rigid disciplinary and hierarchical boundaries to ask inconvenient questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose.

A science without philosophy, ethics, ecology and fine arts is not science; it is industrial science in the cloak of real science. Many university departments are actually business departments in the cloak of respectable real science.

Written by: Tunç Ali Kütükçüoǧlu

About tuncali

I began keeping aquariums as early as I was nine years old. Since then, I kept many aquariums and lots of fish, plant and invertebrate species. My favorite fish family is of course cichlids with their fascinating behaviors. My relatively new area of interest is low-tech natural aquariums as almost self-sufficient ecosystems that are I think ideal models for sustainable life.
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