Liberty and Research and Development

Liberty and Research and Development

Science Funding in a Free Society

Editor: Tibor R. Machan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-2942-8
Publication Date: 8/28/2002
Pages: 124

Since World War II, it has become generally accepted that most advanced scientific research will be funded by the federal government. But despite the usefulness of some of these expenditures, there remains the question of whether the funds were necessarily deployed in the best way. How would the money have been spent had it remained in private hands? Might some other projects have served more valuable purposes? And could these alternative projects have been pursued by government, or is the private sector better equipped to discern and to pursue such purposes?

The contributors to this volume explore the implications of government funding of scientific research and offer alternatives to the heavy reliance on government support that research and development (R&D) currently enjoys. Not every author reaches the same conclusions, but each squarely confronts the problems arising from the idea that government funding of R&D is and ought to be the norm. Contributions include a balanced, in-depth look at the Australian government's investment in research, showing that there is a role for government that is not simply dependent on public good or market failure. The book also offers a discussion of what the limits of government-funded research should be—and why it is critical to separate research and government regulation. It presents an examination of federal research funding in the physical sciences and engineering, showing that it appears to work—but that there is no real principle to justify the spending or establish that the money is spent effectively. And it provides a thoughtful reflection on the role of scientific research in a free society, raising the question: Does state involvement in research lead to more or less freedom?

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Tibor R. Machan

Tibor R. Machan is a Hoover research fellow, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and holds the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Acknowledgments
vii

Contributors
ix

INTRODUCTION
Some Skeptical Reflections on Research and Development
Tibor R. Machan
xi

CHAPTER ONE
Arguments Concerning Government’s Investment in Research
Oliver Mayo
1

CHAPTER TWO
The Limits of Government-Funded Research:
What Should They Be?
R. Paul Drake
27

CHAPTER THREE
Federal Support of Research and Development
in Science and Engineering
Michael W. Blasgen
61

CHAPTER FOUR
Scientific Research in a Free Society:
Some Reflections
Eleftheria Maratos-Flier
91

Index
119



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