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A Tough Question .. Or Is It ??
I guess this really is a tough question to ask afterall.
My question was never framed around "What is the value of
science/ feeding the poor/ the arts/ space exploration/
I get that.
If I had used the operative word "vocation" ..
the response would probably have been nil .. making the
question irrelevant .. so .. I used the term "professional
hobby". This isn't the first time I've brought this thread
up and it isn't the first time I broached the subject to
someone who deeply cares.
PJC and I had this conversation back around '78 as we strolled
down an old country road after dinner from our camp at Sandy Point.
What I'm gathering from the response is also quite interesting.
Capitalist exploitation is frightening. It is .. if you're not in
control of it.
Some of you even suggested that if the science were to open the
doors to heavy funding .. all sorts of terrors would be released
[administrative and for-profit business ferengi would take control].
That's what we already have because we are NOT in control of our
own funding .. barely its allocation.
David brought up a good counter to my original question. He mentioned
Sweden. O.K. Sweden does have exceptional gov't. High taxes but well
managed expenditure of those taxes. I stand in awe of the Swedes. But
Sweden .. and lets be honest here .. is the exception to the rule. Good
More to the point .. why hasn't our "vocation" not moved on from gov't
Perhaps what I've learned is that few of us have given much thought
to the full potential of this science. Perhaps I'm quite alone here.
The high costs inherent in science is already pushing gov't to partner
with entrepreneurs .. and free-enterprise is the current direction we're
heading into. Frought with dangers ?? Most assurredly but .. I'd hate
to see us waylayed. We have to shake ourselves awake here.
Museums world-wide are in a deep funding crisis .. especially American.
Again .. interestingly .. China is the exception with some problems as
we are all well aware of.
My point is still there. Do we or do we not desire to take control of
our science [eventually] ?? As always .. the caveat .. science has to
be open and accessible. That especially goes without saying.
But .. do we really believe that if this science remains on gov't subsidy
.. all will be well .. and we'll just all continue on our happy way ..
content that nothing can or will happen to us ??
This is the real .. tough question ..