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Author Topic: How much state-funded pure research would get crowd funded in an An-Cap world?  (Read 4214 times)
state hater
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« on: July 31, 2013, 07:27:31 PM »

It has been empirically demonstrated that modest space exploration and other small pure research projects can apparently be funded by things like Kickstarter, but naysayers often say that while minarchism and economically right-wing schools of anarchism could do fine in the area of applied research (since there is an immediate profit motive with applied research), they would utterly fail to fund gargantuan projects in the area of pure research, such as the Large Hadron Collider.  See the following video wherein Kokesh and this moron argue:  

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4NpTuiNVUA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4NpTuiNVUA</a>

I spent most of the video wanting to tell the neo-crazy "The endeavor of modern science began with indepedently wealthy men doing pure research, and they didn't need government funding!"

(1)  Are the naysayers correct in that in our vision of the world, the very largest pure research projects, such as the LHC, would not get funded?

(2)  If the answer to (1) is "yes" then is that a big deal?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 07:29:45 PM by state hater » Logged

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Seth King
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 07:34:21 PM »

Apparently only governments are capable of curiosity and achieving grand endeavors. Individuals are just totally incapable about caring about the universe or exploration.
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 07:42:50 PM »

I agree that it is a fairly hollow objection, but I'm not sure whether they have a point about there being a ceiling of sorts when it comes to things that can be funded voluntarily.  Not that that is a black mark against liberty if that is in fact the case, since I think that living in a free society is much more important than whatever knowledge can be obtained by the most expensive state-funded projects.  Clearly, we already have examples of crowd funding working on the small scale with pure research (~1.5 million FRNs were raised when only 1 million was requested for the space telescope project linked to in the OP), but our ideological enemies insist that multi-billion dollar projects with no immediate profit motive would never get funded.  Perhaps they're right.  While a bit disappointing, that doesn't make me want a stateless society any less.
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 07:52:57 PM »

What those people fail to understand is that they have a narrow definition of profit. They think it only means getting more cash than put in. But profit is subjective.

If I donate $100 to a project to put a man on Mars, and the project succeeds, I have profited.
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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 02:19:42 AM »

You also have to look at how badly the big stuff is really needed.  If you don't have 10 billion to build a ginormous particle accelerator, you'll likely look around to try to find a way to make do with a smaller one.  Or the need will build until enough people want a big one enough to get the money together.

The research done by individually wealthy scientists was mostly from them having patents on things like AC electricity that gave them that money.  Without the patents, the revenue is lower, and there are fewer things to make lots of money off of waiting to be discovered these days.  On the other hand, those that exist are also much less expensive to study, like Mach-Lorentz thrusters.
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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 07:25:18 AM »

The funny thing to me is that people are not looking at these things as they look at everything else.  Large telescopes, or Hubble for example, have huge waiting lists of people that want to use it.  The owners of the equipment (government) sometimes charges a small fee, but no where near the actual cost or anything reflective of demand.  The renters pay, usually with funds from the school.  The LHC operates the same way.  Certain people get approved to go run their experiments off a waiting list full of others that want to pay to use it.

There is a market here, it is just not reflected well because government doesn't know WTF a market is.  They complain about not having funding to keep Hubble going, while people around the world would be happy to pay for the images it captures.  

No private organization is going to spend millions or more on equipment when the market is distorted with below cost government pricing.  
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 07:32:02 AM by Syock » Logged

SinCityVoluntaryist
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 01:11:36 AM »

 The country of Japan has most of its scientific research in privatized hands. I don't think anyone on the planet would disagree that their with this act has been extremely positive.
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 12:11:32 PM »

It does not matter how much pure research would be funded if the government did not fund it.
Maybe the answer is a lot or maybe the answer is a little, but everybody is missing the problem with socialist calculation. AT WHAT HIDDEN COST

In free markets you can calculate how much of your own or your partners money you put in, how much money you get out and you can choose to expand your efforts or fold your hand and release the actors to go do research on something else. You can calculate if the return was worth it even if the payoff was in psychic gain not in dollars, and at any time you can decide to continue your donations or stop.

In a socialist "pure" experiment, the government first has to tax the money away from productive citizens (who would have spent it differently) then put it in the hands of politicians, who assign it based on their political gains.
How are you ever going to calculate how many times cancer could have been cured or a free source of electricity could have been developed in the free market with that money... nobody can calculate that.

Also you have the incentive problem. If the government grants a few million to do research on say "prove or disprove that you can cure AIDS with high doses of vitamin C so the government can decide on subsidizing a factory" After a period of time you would have a results. But private research would have done it cheaper.

"Too big for private funding" projects are always given vague criteria ( the actual definition of 'pure" research is that it has no endpoint)so they can go on forever. If they ever finish the project they would lose their income.
No government pure research is ever told "we give you  three years and if you don't have the answers, you get fired".
And again because the mega billion dollar public funded research by definition becomes a privileged monopoly, it prevents ( crowds out) cheaper free market versions.
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 05:04:22 PM »

Quote
I agree that it is a fairly hollow objection, but I'm not sure whether they have a point about there being a ceiling of sorts when it comes to things that can be funded voluntarily.

Scarcity insures that there is always a limit to resources.

What those people fail to understand is that they have a narrow definition of profit. They think it only means getting more cash than put in. But profit is subjective.

If I donate $100 to a project to put a man on Mars, and the project succeeds, I have profited.

They're probably talking about economic profit, not emotional profit.

People who have questions will seek answers.
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2013, 02:43:44 PM »

According to Wikipedia, Gauss didn't believe that pure math was worthy of funding.
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 02:51:21 PM »

According to Wikipedia, Gauss didn't believe that pure math was worthy of funding.

Same Gauss that gave us Gaussian Elimination? If so I find that strange.
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2013, 03:25:39 PM »

According to Wikipedia, Gauss didn't believe that pure math was worthy of funding.

Same Gauss that gave us Gaussian Elimination? If so I find that strange.
That is one of many things bearing his name.
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 03:56:19 AM »

I donated more money to non-profit space organizations last year than I did to my church.  People (at least a large percentage of them) will be willing to pay for research, even if it only profits their grandkids.  When the U.S. Govt. dropped out of the space-race because nobody else was running anymore, they lost one of their few real purposes in my mind.  At this point, I'm pinning my hopes on some wealthy visionaries pioneering space.  I don't know if this counts as a contribution, but I'd happily work on such a project for half the pay I would demand from a weapons contractor.  (I'm a machinist and machine tool programmer, trained for aerospace.)  The strongest statement I can make is, according to polling, the vast majority of Americans never minded the portion of their taxes that went towards space.  When you can't get random American to bitch about taxes in a phone poll...

EDIT:  Oh, yeah, and another thing.  There's a corporation, 3M, that mandates all its researchers spend a set percentage of their time "goofing off" with pet projects in the lab.  The company owns all results, but historically has given very generous bonuses to the researchers involved.  One guy was working on a kind of glue that didn't pan out.  All it made was a kind of tacky film.  He was using the stuff to stick notes with ideas on them up around his office.  A marketing guy came by and said "WTF is this!?" and the "Post-it Note" was born.  Another guy was working on something, I forget what, and accidentally spilled some of the waste from his experiment on one of his new shoes.  A few weeks later, he noticed the shoe still looked new, while the other looked shabby.  That was the invention of "ScotchGuard".  Profit motive makes for good research.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 04:27:16 AM by SimonJester » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 04:11:11 AM »


(1)  Are the naysayers correct in that in our vision of the world, the very largest pure research projects, such as the LHC, would not get funded?

(2)  If the answer to (1) is "yes" then is that a big deal?

2) It would be a pretty big deal, if true.  It isn't.

1) If the U.S. Government had been in charge of dealing with Polio, we would have the best iron lung ever devised, but not a vaccine.  The vaccine is the result of the efforts of one genius, Jonas Salk, and ten million school children.  The children donated their left over lunch money, small change, collected all over the country, a week at a time, for years, to fund Salk's research.  Their efforts created an organization named after the way the Billions of dollars those school kids raised trickled in as coins from everywhere.  It's called the March of Dimes.

Extra - Last I was paying attention, some years ago, the U.S. Government was threatening to arrest Jonas Salk.  Seems he believed he'd found a vaccine for HIV, but the FDA wouldn't let him go to human trials.  He wanted to test it on himself and they threatened to put him in prison.  Thank God we have the government to motivate these scientists, otherwise they'd surely all be couch potatoes and potheads.
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