In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece on Sunday, friend of WUWT Matt Ridley argues that basic science research does not lead to technological innovation, and therefore isn’t deserving of taxpayer funding.
“Increasingly, technology is developing the kind of autonomy that hitherto characterized biological entities. The Stanford economist Brian Arthur argues that technology is self-organizing and can, in effect, reproduce and adapt to its environment. … The implications of this new way of seeing technology—as an autonomous, evolving entity that continues to progress whoever is in charge—are startling. People are pawns in a process. We ride rather than drive the innovation wave. Technology will find its inventors, rather than vice versa.
Patents and copyright laws grant too much credit and reward to individuals and imply that technology evolves by jerks. Recall that the original rationale for granting patents was not to reward inventors with monopoly profits but to encourage them to share their inventions. … It follows that there is less need for government to fund science: Industry will do this itself. Having made innovations, it will then pay for research into the principles behind them. Having invented the steam engine, it will pay for thermodynamics.”
Read more here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-basic-science-1445613954