In his recent essay “The Myth of Basic Science“, Matt Ridley argues that technological growth owes little to basic scientific research.
“Technology will find its inventors,” he writes.
Government funding of basic science has long been regarded as the foundation of the technological economy and thus an invest me
nt that returns far more in economic growth and other benefits than it consumes.
Patents and Nobel Prizes are “Fundamentally unfair things.” When a government pays for scientific research, it actually harms science itself by crowding out the “Good” science that corporations and philanthropists would otherwise fund on their own.
Nathan Myhrvold, chief executive officer of Intellectual Ventures ManagementLLC and former chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp. ENLARGE NathanMyhrvold, chief executive officer of Intellectual Ventures Management LLC andformer chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp. PHOTO: SCOTTEELLS/BLOOMBERG NEWS The stakes in this debate are very high, and Mr.Ridley’s argument could do real damage to one of the indispensable drivers ofthe global economy and our way of life.To support his case, Mr. Ridley trots out instances in which multiple inventors orscientists came up with a similar idea around the same time.
Mr. Ridley misunderstands how parallel discovery works and why it matters.
- The investors in the company:This change how investors see investing in companies , an maybe they’ll look more toward start ups
- Employees of the company: this will promote more innovate thinkers, companies will looked to hire more board freethinkers.
- Consumers: consumers of products will look for new ways to improve their everyday products looking to build their own businesses
- Government:Governments will interested in furthering this idea in schools, and will work towards moulding more innovative young minds