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#1 dennislmay

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:45 PM

The seen and the unseen compete for resources. When government uses force to extract resources they are able to produce the "seen" which they can then use to successfully promote the wisdom of taking resources. The "unseen" has been removed from sight - the resources to make the unseen having been spent on a competing vision. The feedback process continues until the "seen" is largely what the government chooses to have seen.

In the past long range planning in the free market allowed industrialists to have the resources to fund pure science. With the government making long term planning nearly impossible and draining private resources they have created the circumstances to largely deny competition for resources in the sciences.

Dennis

#2 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

The seen and the unseen compete for resources. When government uses force to extract resources they are able to produce the "seen" which they can then use to successfully promote the wisdom of taking resources. The "unseen" has been removed from sight - the resources to make the unseen having been spent on a competing vision. The feedback process continues until the "seen" is largely what the government chooses to have seen.

In the past long range planning in the free market allowed industrialists to have the resources to fund pure science. With the government making long term planning nearly impossible and draining private resources they have created the circumstances to largely deny competition for resources in the sciences.

Dennis


Even so, some first rate science is funded by governments using money taken by force from taxpayers. For example: The Swiss government was paying Einstein a salary at the patent office, which enabled him to do some moonlighting to come up with his famous papers published in 1905.

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#3 dennislmay

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:20 PM


The seen and the unseen compete for resources. When government uses force to extract resources they are able to produce the "seen" which they can then use to successfully promote the wisdom of taking resources. The "unseen" has been removed from sight - the resources to make the unseen having been spent on a competing vision. The feedback process continues until the "seen" is largely what the government chooses to have seen.

In the past long range planning in the free market allowed industrialists to have the resources to fund pure science. With the government making long term planning nearly impossible and draining private resources they have created the circumstances to largely deny competition for resources in the sciences.

Dennis


Even so, some first rate science is funded by governments using money taken by force from taxpayers. For example: The Swiss government was paying Einstein a salary at the patent office, which enabled him to do some moonlighting to come up with his famous papers published in 1905.

Ba'al Chatzaf

The "seen" science which in some cases in first rate is competing against "unseen" science which never happened because the resources were robbed away. Moonlighting while employed in private industry or government - in neither case is the funding directed toward the eventual product. One of the great dangers is government funded science education. The same crew wielding guns to gather funds now decides what is and is not science with those funds.

Dennis

#4 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:55 AM

The "seen" science which in some cases in first rate is competing against "unseen" science which never happened because the resources were robbed away.
Dennis


Not "unseen" but non-existent. Science not done is science that does not exist. Let us be careful in how we use language. A is A. If you are going to call something by a name, make sure the name truly describes what is named. One of our "unseen" enemies is language badly used. And that applies to all sides of arguments and disputes.

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#5 dennislmay

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:29 AM

The "seen" science which in some cases in first rate is competing against "unseen" science which never happened because the resources were robbed away. Dennis

Not "unseen" but non-existent. Science not done is science that does not exist. Let us be careful in how we use language. A is A. If you are going to call something by a name, make sure the name truly describes what is named. One of our "unseen" enemies is language badly used. And that applies to all sides of arguments and disputes. Ba'al Chatzaf

We know from times prior to the federal government taking 40% of GDP [much more if you count regulation and other indirect taxation] - that industry did long term planning [back when it was 3-5% of GDP] - selling 99 year bonds, undertaking projects that would take decades without government involvement. Industialists did privately fund universities and private research. This was a period of long term 6-8% growth decade after decade with only minor financial setbacks when government played favorites in one form or another. More wealth creation means more opportunities for all kinds of science funding.

In many cases the "unseen" in science actually does exist - it simply exists in a form not available to the public. There is the "unseen" in miltary R&D sometimes decades ahead of what the public perceives to be the state of the art. There are trade secrets, and there is the science that does not see the light of day because of orthodoxy and filtering. In history you find that a large percentage of discoveries are actually the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or more times something has been discovered but remained "unseen".

The other kind of "unseen" is the potential science that does not exist because resources were diverted and progress aborted before it could happen. We could call this "potiental" rather than "unseen" to differentiate the two types.

History tells us what to expect if "potential" is allowed. History shows us that the "unseen" does exist even when we do not know about it. How to unleash "potential" and foster exposure of the "unseen" versus following the Big Government model is the question. We know Big Government slows growth which curtails available funds for research in or out of government. If the 70% of tax funds used for buying votes instead of doing "legitimate" government functions were not being wasted there would be more growth and funds available for government or private research. After the 70+% waste is eliminated the question still remains if there is a place for governement science outside of the military. I say no.

Dennis

#6 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:12 AM

After the 70+% waste is eliminated the question still remains if there is a place for governement science outside of the military. I say no.

Dennis


I happen to agree on that, but on different grounds. It is not nice to steal. It is bad enough we need to have governments at all. If we are going to have them they should be restricted to being the night watchman of society and the ranger who beats the bounds outside of time to keep the bad guys out.

Every now and again a government science or technology program produces something useful - like nuclear reactors. But that is not sufficient reason for having government as the major player in things scientific or technological.

We are now suffering from the consequences of WW 2. In order to win that war the government had to become a major player and a major funding agent of some scientific projects -- radar, nuclear weapons and even poison gas and biologicals. The bad news was that once the war ended the government became a source of cash (basically loot taken from citizens by force) and the scientific establishment was only too happy to get some of the loot to pursue their own ends. The rest, alas, is history.

If science had remained a private enterprise, I suspect we would have some progress but less in the areas that requires a massive investment. For example, consider the atomic bomb. It cost over 2 billion 1940 dollars (when gold was pegged at $35 a troy ounce) to produce the a-bomb and another 2.5 billion to produce the plane that could deliver it (the B-29 bomber). That is 4.5 billion 1940-45 dollars. No private firm or group of private firms could come up with more than a fraction of that.

Look back to the late 19th century. It took some government funding in Scotland to provide Maxwell and Faraday the means and liesure to produce classical electro-dynamics. It look further funding to provide Einstein with a place and time to produce his four ground breaking papers. Or go back even further: Newton was supported at Cambridge, a government and church run university. If Newton did not have a place and income he would have had to go back and run his family farm a Woolthorpe. And without the help of government funded Halley he could not have published -Principia Mathematica-. So government (and church) were in the act, at least minimally. Historically there are very few example of purely privately funded scientific and technical advances. For example Watts work on a condenser steam engine. That was funded by owners of the coal mines who needed a good way of pumping water out of their mines. We got steam and steam engines privately, but we got the electromagnetic theory for the generators that steam ran partly by government means. We got steam privately, but it took government taking land at gun point to build the railroads., In the U.S. we even had to commit genocide on aboriginal tribes to get the land to build our own transcontinental railroads. That was definitely a government operation.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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#7 dennislmay

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:45 AM

If science had remained a private enterprise, I suspect we would have some progress but less in the areas that requires a massive investment. For example, consider the atomic bomb. It cost over 2 billion 1940 dollars (when gold was pegged at $35 a troy ounce) to produce the a-bomb and another 2.5 billion to produce the plane that could deliver it (the B-29 bomber). That is 4.5 billion 1940-45 dollars. No private firm or group of private firms could come up with more than a fraction of that.

The time frame for development was accelerated because of war but the potential of atomic energy would have been exploited by industry at some point. Aircraft and atomic energy are both inherently dual-use technologies. Government and private industry both made significant contributions to both. Government did not invent heavier than air craft. A variety of people contributed to nuclear theory with one person putting it all together - Leó Szilárd.

Look back to the late 19th century. It took some government funding in Scotland to provide Maxwell and Faraday the means and liesure to produce classical electro-dynamics. It look further funding to provide Einstein with a place and time to produce his four ground breaking papers. Or go back even further: Newton was support at Cambridge, a government and church run university. If Newton did not have a place and income he would have had to go back and run his family farm a Woolthorpe. And without the help of government funded Halley he could not have published -Principia Mathematica-. So government (and church) were in the act, at least minimally. Historically there are very few example of purely privately funded scientific and technical advances. For example Watts work on a condenser steam engine. That was funded by owners of the coal mines who needed a good way of pumping water out of their mines. We got steam and steam engines privately, but we got the electromagnetic theory for the generators that steam ran partly by government means.

Good economics provides the money for research whether filtered through government first or coming directly from private industry. The church and government running education is one model - privately funded education is another model. The fact that government or the church have had a history of being able to take money by force and then use it in education does not in any way imply a superior model. Government and churches want to control education in order to indroctinate in support of the church or government. Any science that comes out as a byproduct is often besides the point. Government investment in education is intended to produce side effects beneficial to government. If that government is satisfied in remaining small the damage is likely to be small. If it decides to grow agressively - like it is now - the damage far outweighs any potential good that might have been a byproduct of its spending.

Would private funding of education and scientific research have produced the work of Newton, Maxwell, Faraday and Einstein? Again a case of the "seen" versus the "potential". Different individuals may have done the same work sooner or better. With Big Government now firmly in control I see virtually no progress occuring in physics. In times of smaller government influence - but free markets - science progressed quickly. It is my view that getting government out for the most part will break the orthodoxy and allow progress once more.

Dennis

#8 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:24 AM

Unfortunately we have no well grounded theory for figuring out how much actual science would be gained from potential science if the government were removed from the loop. We may fondly hope that much sound science which is currently funded by tax loot will be taken up by private investors but we really have no firm idea how much and to what extent. All we have is hope.

The analogy between "potential" science and potential energy is flawed. In the case of potential energy in a field we can calculate exactly how much actual or kinetic energy can be derived if there is no dissipation. No such calculation applies to what you call "potential" science.

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#9 dennislmay

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:38 AM

Unfortunately we have no well grounded theory for figuring out how much actual science would be gained from potential science if the government were removed from the loop. We may fondly hope that much sound science which is currently funded by tax loot will be taken up by private investors but we really have no firm idea how much and to what extent. All we have is hope.

The analogy between "potential" science and potential energy is flawed. In the case of potential energy in a field we can calculate exactly how much actual or kinetic energy can be derived if there is no dissipation. No such calculation applies to what you call "potential" science.

Bob Kolker

I am not attempting an analogy between "potential" science and potential energy. I am trying to find a new term for "unseen" for those things which do not yet exist but historical experience tells us tend to exist given opportunity.

A agree there is no theory on how much or what kind of science we could expect if government were removed from the loop. We can extrapolate from historical experience and the feedback you can expect if markets were free. It comes down to individuals and their individual efforts - which remain individually unpredictable. We have trends in groups but there is always the black swan which can throw the most carefully considered predictions out the window. If it were a question of black and white [total freedom versus total collectivism] it would be easier to predict the outcome. In a mixed economy the government often claims the entire product of good outcomes and none of the product of bad outcomes - when in reality it is involved as a percentage in both.

Dennis

#10 Mikee

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:09 PM

I loved Bell Labs and the Bell Telephone Hour when I was a kid. Are they an example of a successful company actually doing basic science successfully and threatening the politico's sufficiently to cause them to be shut down under the guise of "anti-trust"?

#11 dennislmay

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

I loved Bell Labs and the Bell Telephone Hour when I was a kid. Are they an example of a successful company actually doing basic science successfully and threatening the politico's sufficiently to cause them to be shut down under the guise of "anti-trust"?

I visited Belcore Labs in New Jersey right before they were spun off. You could see they were going down. They had beautiful offices, beautiful buildings, nice labs - all the same as empty. Perhaps 10% as many people as you would expect to see with that much space and resources. I commented about it to the researcher we were visiting. He basically said the researchers were all out trying to drum up business [not at the lab doing research]. They were building a laser inspection system for quality control - scanning the electronic properties of GaAs wafers prior to further processing for MMIC circuits [radar chips]. This was right after the huge defense cutbacks started but before Clinton was elected. R&D spending in military related fields went off a cliff.

Dennis




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