Without government financing of research, we are always told, science would be dominated by corporations, and huge advancements in medicine and technology that all of us benefit from would be neglected. So-called “pure research,” rather than research aimed at making marketable products, would never be undertaken. And so an active role in promoting science and medical research is touted as one government function we can never trust with the private sector.
Is it really so simple? As it turns out, many of the biggest advances in technology come from the market process, from entrepreneurs and businesses attempting to develop goods and services for customers. Businesses and private foundations actually do put billions into research—including so-called “pure research”—all the time. Most of the greatest developments in medicine and science over the last year had at least as much of an origin in business as in government, whose successes are few and exaggerated, considering how much is poured into these areas.
Scientific progress to the betterment of humanity is indeed in the interest of all, which is why we do not need the forcible hand of federal bureaucracy involved in the mix. Indeed, when the government controls scientific research, it does so in service of its own agenda, which is often directed by whichever special interests have political influence. The politicization of science is a much bigger problem than whatever imperfections arise when it is left to the market, as has been seen in totalitarian regimes as well as in the United States.
Learn more about Science and Health Research problems and solutions:
“Why Feds Can Not Duck Quack Research”
K. Lloyd Billingsley (MyGovCost) April 17, 2013
“Adventures in Federal Budget Cutting”
S. Fred Singer (American Thinker) March 31, 2011
“Government and Science: A Dangerous Liaison?”
William N. Butos, Thomas J. McQuade (The Independent Review) Fall 2006
“Science and Smear Merchants”
S. Fred Singer (The American Thinker) June 21, 2011
“Science as a Market Process”
Allan M. Walstad (The Independent Review) Summer 2002
“Peer Review, Publication in Top Journals, Scientific Consensus, and So Forth”
Robert Higgs (History News Network) May 7, 2007