TRUTH about US R&D SPENDING from BRITISH NATURE

Gregory R. Harriman gregoryh at bcm.tmc.edu
Mon Apr 29 09:32:50 EST 1996


In article
<Pine.SOL.3.91.960428001820.23840A-100000 at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>,
berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA (Alexander Berezin) wrote:

> Most of these costs (especially chemicals) are artificially
> blown up many times over what it really costs to produce
> them. This happens PRECISELY because producers/suppliers know
> how much money are already in a system and how much researchres
> can pay for them. They simply up-adjust their prices to the
> capacity to pay to maximize their profits. Same is with almost 
> all hard-core equipment. Plus you seem to omitting that there is 
> shamefully low level of sharing or equipment (and other resources)
> between research groups due to the culture of 'competition'
> as opposed to cooperation.

You seem to want to have it both ways.  Previously you argued that current
day scientists don't need a lot of money to do research because equipment
and resources for doing science "almost invariably are LESS expensive
now".  Now you want to argue that the high costs of these resources are
due to the exploitation of scientists by the companies that sell these
products.  Which of your arguments do you really believe?  Even if the
latter is true, it is not the scientist's fault that resources are so
expensive.  Scientists don't have the power to dictate to the suppliers
how much they will pay for the equipment and reagents they need to do the
research.  They still have to obtain sufficient funds if they want to do
research.  If you really believe the above statements, then how about
focusing your criticism on why it costs so much to do the research rather
than accusing scientists of being greedy.

stuff deleted.

> Don't mix these two issue (science and funding system). I don't 
> have 'negative opinion of science' or even of 'research 
> enterprise'. I am talking about the difficulties which SCIENTISTS 
> experience because of the existing funding system. 

I guess I misinterpreted your previous post below:

> Fortunately, the fact that it (the establishement) does
> not really deliver (or rather delivers far much less 
> than it promises) is getting more and more clear to 
> the public, i.e. those taxpayers who fund it all. 
> You can fool some peopel all the time or all people
> some of the time, but you can't fool all the people
> all the time.

This doesn't seem to pertain simply to the difficulties which SCIENTISTS
are experiencing.  Rather, it sounds to me like an indictment of the whole
research enterprise.

Greg Harriman



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