Skip to comments.Science Is the Key to Science, Not to Economic Growth
Posted on 10/30/2012 7:47:00 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot
Neal Lane, who was Bill Clinton's science adviser from 1998 to 2001 and head of the National Science Foundation from 1993 to 1998, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday arguing against Mitt Romney's budget plan, on the grounds that "Science Is the Key to Growth." Lane's argument runs roughly as follows: Bill Clinton "balanced the budget and achieved strong growth" because he invested in science. But this argument is full of holes. George W. Bushs administration also invested in scienceas Lane writes, Clintons doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget was completed under Bushbut the economy went into a tailspin during his administration. Even the most potentially lucrative discovery in "basic research" (which Lane highlights as being especially important) takes years to come to market from the initial research investment, so one administration's spending patterns won't be reflected in the economy until long after they've left office. Lane's attribution of Clinton's budget surpluses to the Human Genome Project is either disingenuous or silly or both. It is good that Clinton brought the budget to surplus, and good that he funded the Human Genome Project, but one had nothing to do with the other.
(Read more at source)
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Increased knowledge of reality is the key to economic growth. Science is a very successful methodology for enlarging humankind’s knowledge of reality; the application of that knowledge to the practical problems of living day-to-day is called “technology,” or “engineering.”
Much of the technology that has so transformed life in the last fifty years came about due to the demands of WWII and the Cold War. The science that powered those technological advancements was developed fifty years before that (or even more; the experimental work that led Planck to the theory of the “quantum” happened in the 19th century).
So momentus were the scientific breakthroughs of the first half of the 20th century - led by relativity and quantum mechanics - that it took another fifty years or more for those breakthroughs to filter down to the level of engineering and technology. Other, lesser technologies - involving heat transfer and materials advances - led to aerodynamics and rocketry, which took mankind into space.
The leveraged combination of those advances in knowledge have caused an astonishing leap forward in the human condition, a leap that has happened so rapidly that human “social knowledge” has not been able to keep up.
This gap in “social knowledge” has been exploited by the forces of social entropy. Many of these “forces of entropy” fall into the catagory headings that make up what we label “Liberalism.”
Bill Clinton didn’t balance the budget, Newt Gingrich did.
Basic scientific research leads to scientific discoveries which lead to technological progress which leads to increased efficiency of production and increased productivity of labor. These are what lead to economic progress and prosperity. And economic progress leads to job creation. The causal relationship between basic research and growth and job creation is indirect.
Lane's attribution of Clinton's budget surpluses to the Human Genome Project is either disingenuous or silly or both.It's merely agitprop, coming from a shill.