Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bit O' Fun

Not really sure it's as big a gotcha as some of the people commenting on it imply, but it's still fun to watch:

Anyone who thinks the government funding of science is a bad idea is a total fucking idiot.  The economic argument is actually more complex than "Well, if it is a good investment then the private sector would do it."  Much like infrastructure, lots of really good investments for the economy as a whole are actually pretty crappy investments for individual companies.  In general improving human welfare provides a lot of economic benefits, but not necessarily of a direct nature.  Think about science involved in cleaning up pollution (including CO2)...

Reducing the pollution levels has major health benefits, but the people doing the cleanup don't really reap those rewards.  The benefit is that more people live longer/better and can do more/better work.  This means that people contribute more to the economy, and since taxes cover the whole of the economy the government benefits.  Because of the broad nature of the benefit, only the government can justify the cost, because only the government has the size and reach to claim the return on investment.

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