We are often told without government financing of basic research, science would be dominated by corporations, and huge advancements in medicine and technology would be neglected. And so an active role in promoting science and medical research is touted as something we can never leave entirely 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 invest billions into research—including so-called “pure research”—all the time. Most of the greatest developments in medicine and science had at least as much of an origin in business as in government, whose successes are few and exaggerated, considering how much it spends in 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. 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.
For the MyGovCost Calculator, the Science and Health Research category spans a number of general science and basic research programs operated by a number of government departments, such as the space flight programs and operations under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Department of Health and Human Services programs related to health research and training are also included in this category.
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