Herman Rubin hrubin at
Fri Apr 19 15:33:31 EST 1996

In article <Pine.SUN.3.91.960418222229.5147A-100000 at>,
Arthur E. Sowers <arthures at> wrote:

>On 18 Apr 1996, Herman Rubin wrote:

>> In article <4l3cf6$t3d at>,
>> Jim Smolen <jsmolen at> wrote:
>> >Bert Gold <bgold at> wrote:

>> 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.


>Herman gives absolutely no rationale for why the government should get 
>out of funding research and have only private (he calls "for-profit" and 
>"non-profit voluntary organizations") or non-govt sources. 

I am not advocating a sudden withdrawal of government funding, but a
gradual return to the status quo ante.  We need to reestablish the idea
that, for a university to be a research university, it must make this
its primary function, with teaching an important adjunct, and that the
"normal" research activities should be funded by the university and 
other private sources.  Government funding should be limited to the
"big ticket" items, which individual universities, or consortia, can
not manage financially.  


>I keep thinking that Christopher Columbus could never get funding from 
>today's industry for the "project" that led to, among other "things", the 

This is not research, but development.

>And, someday, down the road, all that spending on NASA and space 
>exploration, will end up becoming a 20th-21st century equivalent of 
>Columbus' discovery of what we know today as the USA.

I am not convinced that this could not be done by private activities.
If we want to continue space exploration, what we need is enabling
legislation which would let private organizations, both for-profit
and non-profit, to get into the act without fear of government 
intervention.  The billions for manned space activities can be
raised.  There are proposals from space advocates for setting up
lunar colonies without government funding; they cannot be carried
out because of government restrictions.  One could not even legally
set up a foundation to collect and spend 100 billion dollars on
space as its members wish.

>An analysis of government spending, and its ideology, is a more complex 
>issue, but I favor more government spending on science, and in 
>particular, basic research. If I could see the government getting out of 
>something, its the programatically controlled spending, not the spending, 
>per se.

ALL of the present government funding is based on research proposals.
If some of my colleagues, or I, wish to pay a graduate student for 
several months to do some analysis, including numerical analysis, 
it is almost impossible to get funding for it, unless it will be
part of the student's doctoral research.  And if we want $10000 for
this, it will take a $30000 research grant, at least, with at least
$10000 going to research administrators at the university.
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
hrubin at	 Phone: (317)494-6054	FAX: (317)494-0558

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