Science: Funding and Morals

Gregory R. Harriman gregoryh at
Thu Jan 25 18:04:59 EST 1996

In article <4e9086$r9a at>, tivol at
(William Tivol) wrote:

Stuff deleted.

> I know of few societies which have monitary values consis-
> tant with their long-term interests.  How can the voters choose a society
> in which rock stars get paid relatively little, but those who produce wealth
> get paid a lot?  I wouldn't be willing to accept a system in which an expert
> panel evaluates each job to arrive at a "correct" salary, and I can't find
> an easy market-based solution either.  

     I totally agree with you on this.  I don't want solutions to the
problem dictated to me by such a panel either.  The only way I can see
things changing is for a fundamental reevaluation and reawakening at the
grassroots level of our society as to what's important.

> Some social activities, such as rooting for the home team, have value to
bind > the members of a society together.
> When such ideas are considered along with wealth creation, it makes the pro-
> blem of societal distribution of effort and recompense even more difficult.

     No doubt this is true.  But then there is no basic law that says you
and your family won't have a worthwhile experience at the ballgame unless
the baseball players are each paid $5 million dollars.  I readily admit
they are paid that much because that's what people are willing to pay. 
However, to some extent the media, advertising and mass marketing have
manipulated the public's demand and encouraged the belief and expectation
that they should be willing to pay that much.

     Looking at this from the scientist's perspective, perhaps we should
be trying to convince the public that science and scientific research is
as important as the game of baseball.  I wonder if we should even consider
using the media, paid advertising, etc. to do this? :)

Greg Harriman

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