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Old Jan 25th 2009, 07:21 PM
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Default Economic stimulus and science

I was listening to Talk of the Nation Science Friday on NPR and they talked quite a bit about all of the scientific research that is built into the version of the stimulus being considered and I found it interesting. To the surprise of many money spent on it is comparable with what would be spent on infrastructure including research into energy technologies as well as biomedical research and various other things. One reason many support this idea is that in the short run it helps the economy because of money spent on upgrading and building labs and buying all the equipment for them and in the long term discoveries also pay off down the road. One example they went into is when the government worked on building computers and help to fund research that developed the first digital image way back in the 50s. One advantage of public research is that the findings are made public which means all companies are welcome to exploit it rather than it being kept secret by a private company for itself which means more competition. What do you guys think about this? Do you think research is better when done publicly so results are made public and more goes to pure research or is it better when it if private to it's focus on on specific profit based innovation? Personally I see pros and cons to both.
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Old Jan 25th 2009, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Economic stimulus and science

I haven't seen any of the actual specifics so I can't really comment on success/failure of economic development (including, take a deep breath, 4M new jobs for a population with relatively little higher education). That said, I do support any type of public funding for infrastructure benefiting the US public and hope they strip the military down to a defense force to expand the alternative energy R&D.

If it's government funding I'd much rather see the results open to the private sector for parallel development and commercial applications.
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Old Jan 25th 2009, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Economic stimulus and science

Not to hijack the thread, but let the failing banks go in the tank and use that money for alternative energy development.
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Old Jan 25th 2009, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Economic stimulus and science

Quote:
Originally Posted by Americano View Post
I haven't seen any of the actual specifics so I can't really comment on success/failure of economic development (including, take a deep breath, 4M new jobs for a population with relatively little higher education). That said, I do support any type of public funding for infrastructure benefiting the US public and hope they strip the military down to a defense force to expand the alternative energy R&D.

If it's government funding I'd much rather see the results open to the private sector for parallel development and commercial applications.
From what I can tell it was said that public research findings are all made public which allows private companies to use them for various commercial purposes.
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Old Jan 26th 2009, 07:20 AM
SMadsen SMadsen is offline
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Default Re: Economic stimulus and science

Science can only really thrive in an open environment so even if a company is trying to keep its doors tightly closed, it has to give a little in order to get a little if it wants success beyond short sights. By the very nature of science, basically all research is made public anyway sooner or later. That's why patent systems exist.

The aspect of public funding is wide open to a variety of arguments. My own train of thoughts is closely tied to the above, though; the risk of useless science that follows closed environments.

The only way to broaden a private environment while still keeping a guard on competition is to make private economic dependencies, - in effect, to strive towards mega-coorporations. When that becomes an aspiration of the state, it means that distortion of competetion has become an ambition in itself, and that's not a particularly suitable step towards a public good.

The more open a scientific environment can get, the better (read: safer) it gets and the more it can be utilized. That's a public good and that's why I think the state has, not only an interest in, but a direct responsibility to fund basic science.
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