[ExI] Publicly funded research/was Re: DARPA seeking Genesis-style godware capability

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 25 13:59:34 UTC 2009

--- On Thu, 6/25/09, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:18 PM, Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>
> wrote:
>> If people were allowed to keep more of their money and
>> the government didn't have such a big footprint in R&D,
>> then I bet there'd be a lot more private investment in this
>> area.
> In fact, Project Manhattan, Project Apollo, Project Human
> Genome,

You're forgetting Celera's entrance into sequencing the human genome field.

> ITER, Hubble, the Large Hadron Collider, when they were
> launched had
> investors standing in a line for the opportunity to finance
> the thing,
> and were sorely disappointed that they were not given the
> opportunity,
> of, say, waging their own private-initiative war against
> imperial Japan. :-)

I don't think the pattern of private voluntary investment in this area will exactly replicate the pattern of coerced investment.  Do you?  I bet the specific outcomes would different and the funding would've went into other avenues.  With space research, for example, I imagine private investors might be interested in pure exploration, but given their limited budgets would avoid a Project Apollo type program.  (Project Apollo achieved what?  Some rock samples and planting flags.  Of course, when you can publicly fund something, you can waste lots of resources to get rather mediocre results.  Ditto for the ISS and Space Shuttle.)  My guess is we'd see lots of leaner, smaller projects that feed into each other -- rather than NASA/ESA style space research that seems just a way for legislators to get tax dollars for their districts.  (Why, for example, refurbish the Hubble?  The price of the recent repair mission, IIRC, three new Hubbles could've been sent

Also, why would, e.g., private individuals want to fund weapons of mass destruction?  Surely, there would be some market for it, but I doubt it'd be of Manhattan Project proportions -- and, to me, that's a good thing.  All the effort expended making a means of killing lots of people might have been expended on making things people actually want to buy, such as better consumer goods or better medical techniques.  (And, perhaps, a few less innocent civilians would've been killed in Japan.  Hard to say, but the Manhattan Project's main outcome was to kill lots of people and put the whole planet in terror of nuclear annihilation (no matter how unrealistic that fear was), no?  On the latter, people who are terrified often give up more freedom and become less rational -- and what was the Cold War if not a time of giving up freedom (in the name of preserving it) and irrationality?)

>> Right now, DARPA and related agencies in the US and in
>> other countries, act to subsidize basic and fringe research
>> for the corporate world.  It's merely another way the
>> corporate ruling class gets a subsidy.
> Absolutely. See nuclear research investments in North
> Korea... :-)

I gave specific examples, such as how big pharma in the US uses publicly funded universities to do basic research and to partner with.  In effect, the taxpayer pays to fund this research for therapies that big pharmas then patent and sell back to the public.  DARPA, too, is an example of the broken window fallacy.  Yes, it does cool stuff, but this is not free -- someone's paying for it.  Yes, you probably like what they do and feel it's essential.  The rational and Extropian thing to do, though, is to persuade others to fund these projects voluntarily -- not force them to be funded simply because you like the results.




More information about the extropy-chat mailing list