TRUTH about US R&D SPENDING from BRITISH NATURE

Herman Rubin hrubin at b.stat.purdue.edu
Fri Apr 19 15:51:11 EST 1996


In article <shinbrot-1804962235240001 at lucky158.nuts.nwu.edu>,
Troy Shinbrot <shinbrot at nwu1.edu> wrote:
>In article <4l65fd$23m8 at b.stat.purdue.edu>, hrubin at b.stat.purdue.edu
>(Herman Rubin) wrote:

>> In article <4l3cf6$t3d at gazette.bcm.tmc.edu>,
>> Jim Smolen <jsmolen at bcm.tmc.edu> wrote:
>> >Bert Gold <bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu> wrote:
 
>> >>from Nature, 28 March 1996, page 271:
>> >>(Editorial Page)
 
 
>> >>...If the United States moves to balance its budget without tackling
>> >>the areas where it actually spends three-quarters of the money
>> >>-- defence and manditory health and social security programmes
>> >>-- then science spending will be crushed, along with much else of
>> >>value that the federal government does.  
 
>> >Nice to see some straight talking on the subject.
 
>> We need to get the government to ease out of both funding and control
>> of research, and to encourage private funding by both for-profit and
>> non-profit voluntary organizations.  
 
>> The government should never have gotten into it in the first place.

>As I have said before, you first Dr. Rubin.  I'll be happy to see you turn
>back the money that was spent by the government on your education;

How much money do you think the government spent on my education?  I 
did take some advantage of the GI Bill, but my education would not have
been affected otherwise.  As for elementary and secondary education,
I am of the opinion that it would have been better without the public
schools.

I'll be
>happy to see your department turn back the money that goes toward your
>support, direct and indirect, and I'll be really delighted to see private
>funding for any kind of long term research.

I doubt that my position and research opportunities would have been 
worse if the government had not gotten its hands in.  Since the government
has made it effectively impossible for much research funding, my department
and I have to accept it.  It is the only place available.

 No company paid to put a man
>on the moon; no company paid for basic cancer research; no company paid
>for research into the cause of asbestosis; no company paid for research
>into sources of lead poisoning of children, and no company paid for the
>development of the internet that you are happily using to lambaste public
>funding for research.

You are assuming that "non-government" means "company".  The American
universities did not really get into research before the last quarter
of the 19th century, but was well established in it by the end of the
first quarter of this century.  There was little federal funding, and
the state funding was to keep the state universities competitive with
the private universities.

There has been darn little basic cancer research, and most of this is
the recent result of DNA study.  The first complete DNA structure of a
bacterium was done by someone who was defunded because the "experts"
believed his method would not work.  Polio research, other than the
attempt to tackle it by antique epidemiological methods, was carried
out by non-profit agencies; Salk also was considered to be barking up
the wrong tree.

>Don't be a hypocrite.  Either stop feeding at the public trough or stop
>complaining about where the food is coming from.  Take your pick; you
>can't have it both ways.

I believe that my postion that we should allow the private sector, and
I do not mean only industry, to take over most of the public sector's
spending on research does not mean that I must stop using what I can get.
Most of the good people now working for NASA would prefer to work for 
private attempts to really get out in space, but NASA is the only game
in town.  If the government removed its legal obstacles, we will have
major manned space in a few years with no government money.  

-- 
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
hrubin at stat.purdue.edu	 Phone: (317)494-6054	FAX: (317)494-0558



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