Field of Science

Democracy and science - hand in hand

Here's a link to a very interesting article; TPP has been thinking along similar lines for some time, but this article is pretty well written and makes many of the points TPP would cover.  With the GnOPe in charge there is a strong anti-science and anti-democratic flavor to many of the issues and positions they take.  Clearly public higher education is not so valued because thinking tends to mess with many conservative positions.  The snuggier government is with fundamentalist religion, the worse things are for science, and for public education.  Read it and see what you think. 
TPP's blue collar, rural family back ground saw public higher education as a means of changing your relative position in society; and some of the manufacturing jobs (GM, Kodak) that were in the offing, while looking pretty good from the perspective of 1970, have not even lasted for one academic career's amount of time.  Presently "choice" really means damaging public education to favor people who can already afford private education; for TPP public schools were a real choice and a path to a very different type of career. The funding of higher education says it all; politicians do not support that which they do not value, and state support has been declining for TPP's whole career.  And now many politicians argue against the value of higher education because they can point to one or two success stories who were entrepreneurial, ignoring all the rest.  
 

2 comments:

William Connolley said...

The overall idea is appealing. But the word missing from the article is "China". For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Intellectual_Property_Indicators shows China #2 in patents in 2014, and it certainly isn't a democracy. You prefer papers? Try http://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php (admittedly the citation counts says a lot of them aren't great; passing Russia and Iran you're down at Malaysia at #34 before someone else is lower).

The Phytophactor said...

Hmm, hadn't thought about it that way. Good point. Often such gov'ts drive research with a top down approach that doesn't work very well even when benign, e.g., Thailand.