[ExI] Private and government R&D

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 29 15:12:46 UTC 2009

--- On Mon, 6/29/09, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 4:19 PM, Stathis Papaioannou<stathisp at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> 2009/6/29 Max More <max at maxmore.com>:
>> There is exceptional private research done by the
>> likes of IBM and
>> Bell Labs, and corporations also do fund some
>> university research, but
>> this is not investment justified on the basis of its
>> likelihood to
>> yield a profit. It is more like donating to charity,
>> whether for the
>> positive publicity thus generated or out of a sense of
>> civic duty.
> In fact, I suspect that here societal values trump once
> more on
> politics and economics: the same cultural environment which
> makes
> supporting fundamental research convenient and profitable
> for a
> politician or a statesman,  also make doing the same
> (albeit,
> supposedly, on a smaller scale) good PR for the private
> sector...
> What seems sure enough is that the "market", per se, does
> not
> guarantee anything of that.

True on one level, but the market generally is better at delivering the goods.  That's the record of history.  Privately/voluntarily funded firms and individuals doing anything will only have so much funding and will suffer if they make mistakes in this area.  Coercively funded firms have the luxury of not having to worry as much about results.  In fact, failures can be justified via "we didn't have enough money or staff" rationalization along with the call for higher levels of funding and staffing.  (And given a democratic polity, more money and staff usually equals more votes as savvy political entrepreneurs feed some of the money back into campaigning for a bigger budget and staff and make sure the staff jobs are placed in strategic electoral areas.  Note how, in the US, how research funding is divvied up to go to different election districts to secure support for the funding -- and the best places to make the research work seems only of secondary



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