Hi folks, I recently signed up and am looking forward to working out my aging brain. However, I’m asking for a favor. I need to destroy the following article but am in the middle of final exams and can’t put in the time for proper research until exams are over. Here is a link if anyone is interested: Publicly Funded Research
Thanks in advance, and I look forward to making my own contributions soon!
The major problem I see is the underlying assumptions that
1) The results of these projects would never have been done in the market
2) The projects were completed in the best possible way and with the best possible results
3) The results of these projects was/is the best past, present and future use of the resources they have and do consume
Sure, there have been government projects especially through the high risk/reward program DARPA, the internet for instance. But you will notice that the Internet was “invented” in the 50s or 60s, but never really came into wide use until the the market really made use of it and demanded its services decades later in the 90s.
Government spending, especially things like research are a prime example of Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen” and Hazlitt’s One lesson of economics.
As a general rule I might begin with Thomas Sowell’s three questions:
Compared to what?
At what cost?
Do you have any hard evidence?
I think this sums up the three points Sterling made and can be used generically to start to deal with most claims.
I find any example of technological advancement through the military dubious. For one any useful technologies are brought about by competition with a foreign military. And to reiterate Sterlings example from Bastiat we don’t see what was frittered away on pet ideas.