What Business Owes to Science
For a long time, there was a strong movement militating against business. There is some of that now; but there is a much larger movement militating against science, and it includes many people who have business affiliations. It is time that this movement be met head-on.
Science is at the root of all technology; which means that it's at the root of everything that business sells. Everything that business produces and that consumer buys - from cars to TVs to computers to phones to electricity - comes from science. For business-affiliated people to be militating against science and scientists is a vast case of irrationality and ingratitude.
"Oh, but they're government-funded, they must be socialists." In this case we are seeing confusion as to who feeds whom. The scientists are among the hardest-working people in America. And without science, capitalism would be nothing more than an exchange of basic commodities at the level it was in Medieval Persia, and most participants in capitalism would be tilling a 2-acre plot of land and dying in case of a crop failure.
"But most scientists are liberals." The question to ask there is, why is that? Well there are any number of reasons for this; but the one that I find most credible is the financial one. Scientists don't make very much money for the education and the effort they have to put into their work; which means that conservatives, who are driven by money, avoid the field, and the only people we find there are people driven by service. The same is the case with teachers. Conservatives don't go into these fields because they don't pay enough; conservatives don't want to pay tax so the salaries remain low, leading conservatives still further away from these fields. The conservatives catch themselves in a double bind. The conservative leadership understands this, so it does the next best thing and howl about them damn liberals in schools and the academia. But for as long as these are the dynamics, this is what we're going to see; and the conservatives won't visibly boost their presence in these fields unless they either agree to better funding and better salaries or teach their constituents the value of service, the value of science and the value of knowledge.
"But government should not own science, research should be privatized." Florida privatized its jails, so now the Florida law enforcement has an incentive to put away as many people for as long as they can. I had a friend in Florida who got 2 years for a DUI - a charge that carries a fine or a month-long sentence - and spent those two years in a private prison, where guards were giving inmates drugs in exchange for sex. Privatize science? Will there also be private armies? Private entities with weapons of mass destruction? Will we have nuclear feudalism? Al Quaeda is a private organization, and it's definitely not better than most governments. I don't know about you, but I would rather be dealing with an elected, official, accountable governments than with the likes of Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Eventually these private entities will have to create some form of governing institutions to manage the people under them; and I am not optimistic concerning the character of these governing institutions.
All this is not lost on conservative leadership, so they continue to howl about the damn liberals in universities and in schools. And yet without these damn liberals business would have nothing to sell and the bulk of the population would be unemployable. It is time that credit be given where it is due and the falsehoods spun on this issue be confronted. America owes vastly to its scientists, and so does anyone involved in business.