shoutout to wihoutfiber for liking basically all of my posts.
I didn’t know it was that many, heh. I just like to follow a few libertarian blogs and don’t interact much aside from “liking” posts.
Well Terrence Kealey has done a great job at debunking the idea that governments need to fund science. I’m not going to go over all over his arguments but I’ll give a few quotes. In an interview with Scientific American he said (I recommend reading the whole interview):
I very rapidly discovered that, of all the lead industrial countries, Japan—the country investing least in science—was growing fastest. Japanese science grew spectacularly under laissez-faire. Its science was actually purer than that of the U.K. or the U.S. The countries with the next least investment were France and Germany, and were growing next fastest. And the countries with the maximum investment were the U.S., Canada and U.K., all of which were doing very badly at the time [the 1980s].
Two key pieces [of evidence support my views], one British, one American. The British one is very simple. The British agricultural and industrial revolutions took place in the 18th and 19th centuries in the complete absence of the government funding of science. It simply wasn’t government policy. The British government only started to fund science because of the Great War [World War I]. The funding has increased heavily ever since, and there has been absolutely no improvement in our underlying rate of economic growth.
But the really fascinating example is the States, because it’s so stunningly abrupt. Until 1940 it was American government policy not to fund science. Then, bang, the American government goes from funding something like $20 million of basic science to $3,000 million, over the space of 10 or 15 years. I mean, it’s an unbelievable increase, which continues all the way to the present day. And underlying rates of economic growth in the States simply do not change. So these two historical bits of evidence are very, very powerful.
In summary, laissez-faire doesn’t require charity or the donations of a few rich people to fund science, and is in fact considerably more efficient than government-controlled science. Though I don’t doubt that large donations to research will take place (Milton Friedman said that one of the purposes of a university is to “sell monuments”).
You answered the question as though it were one on (~) historical science investment and it’s economic impact when I believe it was asking something more along the lines of how are large scale science projects with limited short-term practical application to be funded except by the state? I read the interview and I strongly believe that it also does not support your conclusions.
I’m not a statist and I’m probably not awesome enough to talk about what needs to happen with anything just some guy. I am also unaware of the larger context in which this Q&A takes place js.
The interview isn’t talking about whether or not governments or rich people need to fund science, just whether or not it stimulates economic growth. It’s not that those things aren’t pretty similar in nature, it’s that I don’t think it accurately applies to the LHC because the purpose of it isn’t directly tied to economics. It’s not a nvidia fab or something, I’d like to hear someone argue that the private sector wouldn’t easily be able to build something like that (in some world where it already didn’t happen of course).
Check this out, your quotes come as answers to these two questions:
"How did you come to your view that government funding of science doesn’t stimulate economic growth?"
“What historical evidence supports your idea?”
Which were the first two questions in the interview. Did you know that the next question was this
"SA: Who would fund science if the government didn’t?
TK: Research and development, which is a wider category, is largely funded by the private sector [for industrial purposes]. There’s no doubt in my mind that if government didn’t fund science, there would be significantly more private funding even for academic science. By “academic science” I mean pure or basic science as opposed to university science; the latter would dwindle, but the former would grow within industry. My belief—and it’s based on historical evidence of how good American science was before 1940—is that you have significant foundations [that would fund pure science]. Indeed, in my book I pointed out that quite a lot of the big foundations of science preceded 1940, and then after the huge influx of American government funding, people said, “Well, the government’s doing that,” and they started turning their attention to other things. More recently we’ve had people like [Bill] Hewlett and [Dave] Packard and others leaving billions to endow research, as the government started to withdraw slightly from that activity.”
Which I think is a much better answer to the question. But unfortunately for you conclusions seems to talk about the charity of a few rich people as being pretty important to the development of non industrial science. His distinction between university science and academic science is not clear to me though.
And I don’t think TK had super project in mind either. I don’t think he would say that the LHC would have been built within a reasonable time frame without the help of government. I don’t think he would say that NASA would exist without government funding either. What do you think about that?
If you accept that NASA wouldn’t exist now or in the past if it relied on private industry then I get to quote Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the importance of NASA. Industry has it’s sights on space now but I think rich people and government funding and universities are largely responsible for the state of space exploration at the current time. I was gonna find a something more direct but this is to funny
Anyway have a nice day.
I think you may be overestimating the value of nasa and its irreplaceability in a free market. Nasa seems expensive because they start off with a ridiculous budget which allows for waste and ensures inefficiency from the start. Private firms have financial accountability since they have to face profit and loss thus they must approach a space project from a more cost efficient means. One firm was able to launch into space for about $30k (i believe) using balloon-like technology instead of rocket propulsion which is incredibly expensive and inefficient. Economics of space exploration by greg rehmke and making space pay by jeff greason are two YT vids i recommend checking out if you havent seen them. Theres also a russia today vid called privatizing the final frontier which features a man from the space frontier foundation which i also recommend checking out.