[ExI] Against government science funding was Re: New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease Vaccine

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Apr 19 07:52:17 UTC 2008

On 19/04/2008, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:

> What is the good generally of science?  Why would you believe that
>  people can only acknowledge that good and fund it by having a
>  government be involved?   If the government truly is acting on the
>  will of the people then why  wouldn't people care about and give money
>  to the same causes without filtering it through a government or having
>  a government force them to do so?  Conversely if the people do not
>  care about these things in what sense is the government acting on
>  their behalf rather than forcing them to support things they in fact
>  do not care that much about?
>  The profit in scientific research is the tremendous expansion of
>  opportunity that comes from what it discovers.   This is not lost on
>  foundations, corporations and other groups of people.

Let's say that there is a project that may be undertaken in a country
of 1 million people that will cost $100 million and will provide $200
of utility, on average, to each citizen. The nature of the project is
such that the utility is spread across the entire population, i.e. if
a wealthy individual decides to fund the whole thing himself he will
still probably only get $200 of utility for his investment. Such a
project will likely be funded through taxation, but not through the
free market, except as an act of charity.

Stathis Papaioannou

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