A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

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Cosima___J
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A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:54 pm

We have a sizeable number of longterm unemployed and for them the forecast is hardly sunny and bright. The longer one is unemplyed, of course, the harder it becomes to get a job. Skills deteriorate. New technologies and processes emerge. Employers question why you've been unemployed for so long. Etc, etc. etc.

Here's a good article which details further problems for the unemployed:

The Data and the Reality
By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 27, 2010


Maybe they’ve stumbled onto something in their windowless rooms. Maybe the economy really is gathering steam. But in the rough and tumble of the real world, where families have to feed themselves and pay their bills, there are an awful lot of Americans being left behind.

A continuing national survey of workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession, conducted by two professors at Rutgers University, offers anything but a rosy view of the economic prospects for ordinary Americans. It paints, instead, a portrait filled with gloom.

More than 15 million Americans are officially classified as jobless. The professors, at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, have been following their representative sample of workers since the summer of 2009. The report on their latest survey, just out this month, is titled: “The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers Lose Ground, Hope, and Faith in Their Futures.”

Over the 15 months that the surveys have been conducted, just one-quarter of the workers have found full-time jobs, nearly all of them for less pay and with fewer or no benefits. “For those who remain unemployed,” the report says, “the cupboard has long been bare.”

These were not the folks being coldly and precisely monitored, classified and quantified as they made their way to the malls to kick-start the economy. These were among the many millions of Americans who spent the holidays hurting.

As the report states: “The recession has been a cataclysm that will have an enduring effect. It is hard to overstate the dire shape of the unemployed.”

Nearly two-thirds of the unemployed workers who were surveyed have been out of work for a year or more. More than a third have been jobless for two years. With their savings exhausted, many have borrowed money from relatives or friends, sold possessions to make ends meet and decided against medical examinations or treatments they previously would have considered essential.

Older workers who are jobless are caught in a particularly precarious state of affairs. As the report put it:

“We are witnessing the birth of a new class — the involuntarily retired. Many of those over age 50 believe they will not work again at a full-time ‘real’ job commensurate with their education and training. More than one-quarter say they expect to retire earlier than they want, which has long-term consequences for themselves and society. Many will file for Social Security as soon as they are eligible, despite the fact that they would receive greater benefits if they were able to delay retiring for a few years.”

There is a fundamental disconnect between economic indicators pointing in a positive direction and the experience of millions of American families fighting desperately to fend off destitution. Some three out of every four Americans have been personally touched by the recession — either they’ve lost a job or a relative or close friend has. And the outlook, despite the spin being put on the latest data, is not promising.

No one is forecasting a substantial reduction in unemployment rates next year. And, as Motoko Rich reported in The Times this month, temporary workers accounted for 80 percent of the 50,000 jobs added by private sector employers in November.

Carl Van Horn, the director of the Heldrich Center and one of the two professors (the other is Cliff Zukin) conducting the survey, said he was struck by how pessimistic some of the respondents have become — not just about their own situation but about the nation’s future. The survey found that workers in general are increasingly accepting the notion that the effects of the recession will be permanent, that they are the result of fundamental changes in the national economy.

“They’re losing the idea that if you are determined and work hard, you can get ahead,” said Dr. Van Horn. “They’re losing that sense of optimism. They don’t think that they or their children are going to fare particularly well.”

The fact that so many Americans are out of work, or working at jobs that don’t pay well, undermines the prospects for a robust recovery. Jobless people don’t buy a lot of flat-screen TVs. What we’re really seeing is an erosion of standards of living for an enormous portion of the population, including a substantial segment of the once solid middle class.

Not only is this not being addressed, but the self-serving, rightward lurch in Washington is all but guaranteed to make matters worse for working people. The zealots reading the economic tea leaves see brighter days ahead. They can afford to be sanguine. They’re working.

Cosima___J
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:22 pm

Which brings up the question: Will the 99 weeks of unemployment compensation eventually be extended yet again????

JackC
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by JackC » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:30 pm

I remember very vividly the recession in 1980-82. People felt exactly how they feel now. There was a sense of despair, the end had come for US dynamism, and no one could see how a recovery could come about. I was in school in Boston at the time.

Then came the recovery, fueled by the tech boom, and we had 20 years of a huge economic boom.

With globalization, expanded markets and increasing, not decreasing, technical innovation, there doesn't seem to me to be any reason to think that prosperity will not return, though the problems created by the collapse of the credit bubble will have to be endured.

What HAS changed is the increasing skills of others in the global labor market in which US workers must compete. More and more those with inadequate skills and education can expect to feel pressure on their wages, incomes, and ability to find work at all. The pressure on unskilled workers in the US is only going to get more intense. They may continue to do as well in an absolute sense and globalization will increase the size of the economic pie for everyone. But they will continue to fall behind in a relative sense, and hence the income disparity will grow. That may not seem fair, but those are the economic facts of life in the 21st century. No law or policy is going to protect people who are not trained and who have none of the skills that will command employment and higher wages.

We could become protectionist. That would make everyone less off absolutely, but could decrease income disparity, as we all would be less well off. And is it really a bad thing that because of globalization, a billion people in India, China and other parts of the developing world are coming out of poverty and have chance at better lives?

living_stradivarius
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by living_stradivarius » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:49 pm

Cosima___J wrote:“They’re losing the idea that if you are determined and work hard, you can get ahead,” said Dr. Van Horn. “They’re losing that sense of optimism. They don’t think that they or their children are going to fare particularly well.”
Can't just "work hard." Everyone does that. If returns are measured by hard work alone, people in Third World countries would be earning billions more than they do now just to survive. Gotta learn - and in one sense, that is working hard, on a different, but critical part of one's life.

The economy is forcing people to think outside the box, outside the system they used to believe would meet their needs for them.
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lennygoran
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by lennygoran » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:13 pm

>Will the 99 weeks of unemployment compensation eventually be extended yet again????<

Even more important--will the tax breaks for the millionaires be extended! Regards, Len :)

piston
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by piston » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:33 pm

'Tis gloomy and most economists agree with that picture. The construction industry, a big chunk of what cannot be outsourced, is down and out, at a depression-level condition. It'll be interesting when the Obama's administration five-year unemployement data comes out. Thus far, we've been operating on highly problematic unemployment data based on the infamous "People still looking for work" concept. Well, guess what? That old idea simply fails to catch most structural unemployment! Would you be looking for work if what you did in life had been exported abroad? The real unemployment information has yet to be revealed.

Not that it will affect all prevailing economic theories. Economics is about efficiency, not about human condition. Indeed, economics fuels nationalist revolutions.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by piston » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:57 pm

On NPR tonight, the kind of stuff economists think of. Apparently, an economic driven proposal in Israel would place on top of the list of people in need of an organ those who have previously given an organ, such as a kidney, whatever the degree of the medical emergency. Another one bright economic idea: in a system where you have to choose between a college education for your kids and paying for a life-saving operation for one of your parents, forget the latter, because it's inefficient to society!

How do you like them apples?

!
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

HoustonDavid
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:31 am

lennygoran wrote:Even more important--will the tax breaks for the millionaires be extended!
Now that those benefits have been extended, I'm 99% sure that those millionaires
will finally begin that "trickle down" we have been promised since Reagan was in
office!! Then we can all smile 'cause "Happy Days are Here Again!!" :D :D :D
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

lennygoran
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by lennygoran » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:46 am

>Now that those benefits have been extended, I'm 99% sure that those millionaires will finally begin that "trickle down" we have been promised since Reagan was in office!! <

Well during this mad holiday shopping seasons we avoided the malls like crazy but now maybe we can get to one! Regards, Len :)

John F
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by John F » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:11 am

piston wrote:Apparently, an economic driven proposal in Israel would place on top of the list of people in need of an organ those who have previously given an organ, such as a kidney, whatever the degree of the medical emergency.
That's not economics, it's the Old Testament: "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," etc. (Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21) But turned on its head.
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Cosima___J
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:51 am

Yet another gloomy indicator for employment:

Where are the jobs?
Many American companies hiring workers overseas
Associated Press
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010

Actually, many American companies are -- just not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

More than half of the 15,000 people hired by Caterpillar Inc. this year were outside the U.S. UPS is hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.

The jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute's senior international economist.

"There's a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy," Scott said.

American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated -- think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.

Now, many of the products being made overseas aren't coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.

"Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits," says Jeffrey Sachs, a globalization expert and economist at Columbia University. "What's changed is that companies today are getting top talent in emerging economies, and the U.S. has to really watch out."

With the future looking brighter overseas, companies are building there, too. Caterpillar, maker of the signature yellow bulldozers and tractors, has invested in three new plants in China in just the last two months to design and manufacture equipment. The decision is based on demand: Asia-Pacific sales soared 38 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared with 16 percent in the U.S. Caterpillar stock is up 64 percent this year.

"There is a shift in economic power that's going on and will continue. China just became the world's second-largest economy," says David Wyss, the chief economist at Standard & Poor's, who notes that half of the revenue for companies in the S&P 500 in the past couple of years has come from outside the U.S.

Take the example of DuPont. Known as one of the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells less than a third of its products in the U.S. In the first nine months of this year, sales to the Asia-Pacific region grew 50 percent, triple the U.S. rate.

DuPont's work force reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the company said its number of employees in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent between January 2005 and October 2009. In the same period, its work force grew 54 percent in the Asia-Pacific countries.

A key factor behind this runaway international growth is the rise of the middle class in these emerging countries. By 2015, for the first time, the number of consumers in Asia's middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined.

"All of the growth over the next 10 years is happening in Asia," says Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and formerly the World Bank's chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.

Other economists, like Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with fewer than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 8.9 percent.

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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:50 pm

education education education + entrepreneurship
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Cosima___J
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:00 pm

Strad, I agree 100%. "Brain Power" jobs are the only thing that can save us.

jbuck919
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:04 pm

Los Angeles Times Articles
Fixing the economy the scientific way
Worried about the economy? Try investing in scientific research — it can solve problems and create jobs.
Op-Ed
December 26, 2010|By Meryl Comer and Chris Mooney

Here are two facts that might seem unrelated: 1) Most Americans cannot name a living scientist. 2) Over the last two years, by far the most pressing problems in the country have been the economy and the cost of healthcare (a chief concern of President Obama's deficit commission).

What if we told you solving the first will help us fix the second?

Without ramping up our investments in science and research — a matter barely on the public's radar in a country where 65% of the citizens can't name a living scientist and another 18% try but get it wrong — we'll be hobbled in trying to fix our long-term economic problems. That's because science creates jobs, and it can also reduce healthcare costs related to the aging of the population.

Take jobs first: This has been a theme hammered home by the National Academy of Sciences. In its two "Gathering Storm" reports released in recent years, the academy has argued strongly that our future prosperity depends on investments made now in research and innovation.

The basic premise rests on the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow, who documented that advances in technology and knowledge drove U.S. economic growth in the first half of the 20th century. If it was true then, it's even more so in today's information economy.

Consider the economic reverberations of dramatically increasing the capacity of the microchip. As the academy unforgettably put it: "It enabled entrepreneurs to replace tape recorders with iPods, maps with GPS, pay phones with cellphones, two-dimensional X-rays with three-dimensional CT scans, paperbacks with electronic books, slide rules with computers, and much, much more."

It's dramatic testimony to the economic power of scientific advances. And yet over the four decades from 1964 to 2004, our government's support of science declined 60% as a portion of GDP. Meanwhile, other countries aren't holding back: China is now the world leader in investing in clean energy, which will surely be one of the industries of the future. Overall, China invested $34.6 billion in the sector in 2009; the U.S. invested $18.6 billion.

But it's not just that science creates the next jobs. At the same time, it can also save society a fortune in shared costs that weigh down the federal budget.

Health economists and demographers, surveying the steady aging of the U.S. population, are predicting a dramatic rise in the cost of dealing with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, which already accounts for $172 billion in total spending annually. That number is projected to climb to more than $1 trillion by 2050 as legions of baby boomers reach the age of onset and the population generally ages. Meanwhile, our annual federal Medicare expenditure on Alzheimer's is projected to increase from $88 billion today to $627 billion, far exceeding the current total Medicare budget (about $468 billion this year).

There's just one hope here: scientific advances that will slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and ultimately uncover a cure. But, ironically, the prospects for scientists who seek federal dollars to study the disease are among the worst in the entire government science infrastructure. The National Institute on Aging, which supports most of this work, is now turning down more than 90% of scientifically meritorious research grant proposals due to an inability to finance them.

As Alzheimer's researcher Sam Gandy of Mount Sinai Medical Center puts it: "Many well-known Alzheimer's scientists of my generation recognize that we have reached the end of an era. We can no longer, in good conscience, recommend that our trainees plan for a career in Alzheimer's research unless they can establish their first labs in China, Korea, Europe, Australia or South America."

So much for heeding the advice of philanthropist Mary Lasker, who used to remark, "If you think research is expensive, try disease!"

In light of all this, it's scarcely believable that the ascendant Republicans, in their "Pledge to America," are calling for a reduction in federal spending on nondefense-related science research to pre-stimulus levels. The National Institutes of Health could see its budget dip to $28.5 billion in such a scenario, a 9.1% decline — and that's just one research agency. Others, like the National Science Foundation, could also be at risk.

In this context, who stands up for research? Publically funded scientists and their institutes have to remain politically neutral. Meanwhile, most Americans don't even know a living scientist's name, and think of Bill Gates and Al Gore as scientific role models.

We need to change our culture to honor our scientists — to rescue them from the funding upheavals that cut short their efforts to bring us life-saving therapies, treatments and devices that transform our lives and the way we work. And we need to recognize that the cost of basic science, and the time it takes, require a sustained government commitment because industry can't be relied on to fund incremental and high-risk science for its own sake without any guarantee of a payoff.

As Charles Darwin's great-great grandson Matthew Chapman, a Hollywood screenwriter, says: "Instead of being derided as geeks or nerds, scientists should be seen as courageous realists and the last great heroic explorers of the unknown. They should get more money, more publicity, better clothes, more sex and free rehab when the fame goes to their heads."

That's pretty funny — but our problems aren't.

Meryl Comer, president of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative, is executive producer of the Rock Stars of Science campaign (www.rockstarsofscience.org), Chris Mooney is the coauthor of "Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future."
Los Angeles Times Articles
Copyright 2010 Los Angeles Times

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living_stradivarius
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:29 pm

Here is great thread debating the efficacy of government funding in science: http://lemire.me/blog/archives/2010/11/ ... r-science/

Terence Kealey has been arguing against public funding of science. Is it efficient to fund science with government dollars? He argues that when science is mostly funded by large government agencies, other funding souces are effectively crowded out. He has two good historical example. Firstly, while France massively invested in research and academic institutions in the 17th and 18th centuries, the United Kingdom, and not France, gave birth to the industrial revolution and the accompanying scientific surge. Secondly, the United States was leading the world in technological innovation starting in the 19th century whereas it had a comparative underdeveloped academic system, and no public research funding.

In short, whereas there is a correlation between wealth and scientific output, there is no evidence that public science funding generates economic growth. http://www.springerlink.com/index/u74137q575002mg2.pdf
Moreover, government funding results in a concentration of power in the hands of few politicians. Trusting politicians with almost all of the research funding is a tad insane. It is even crazier to think that politicians have science in mind when allocating funding.

Kealey argues that for every dollar invested by the government, more than a dollar is withdrawn from research by private investors. While I don’t know whether this is true, I do know that I have no idea how I would go about asking for private funding, outside government programs, for my research. How do you go about it? Do you post a video on, say, kickstarter?

-------------------
China is now the world leader in investing in clean energy, which will surely be one of the industries of the future. Overall, China invested $34.6 billion in the sector in 2009; the U.S. invested $18.6 billion.
Clean energy is a horrible example of efficient science funding. As we all should know by now, China's clean energy investment is starting to backfire, just like Europe's: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-244161205.html
And we need to recognize that the cost of basic science, and the time it takes, require a sustained government commitment because industry can't be relied on to fund incremental and high-risk science for its own sake without any guarantee of a payoff.
The article addresses the problem very vaguely. Throwing money at science will not magically create jobs. Actually throwing money at anything doesn't magically create jobs -- it's a chronic fallacy afflicting people on the right and the left.

You need entrepreneurs (and a sound investment channel/methodology) to mingle with scientists to create jobs - and all this is largely happening in the private sector. Of course, it also depends on the type of science involved. Too much generalization here with Alzheimer's research.

Government funding is better allocated towards science education for the broader populace.
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living_stradivarius
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:04 am

We did get some legislation this time around though:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/ ... eedfetcher


Despite coming under attack by congressional republicans, federal science funding has received a major and mostly overlooked boost.

The America Competes Act, passed by Congress shortly before Christmas, calls for $46 billion in science and technology research funding over the next three years.

Final approval awaits the signature of President Barack Obama, who in a recent speech framed the need for continued research support.

“Our generation’s Sputnik moment is back,” he said, referring to the 1957 Soviet satellite launch that catalyzed the U.S. space program and accelerated the development of American technology.


The act was overshadowed by the Democrats’ other legislative victories after midterm election losses and the successful Republican defense of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Legislation on gays in the military, food safety, health care for 9/11 first responders and additional economic stimulus spending all had higher profiles than science funding, leaving the passage of America Competes remarked mostly by press releases and trade publications.

As Eli Kintisch noted for ScienceInsider, President Obama declined to mention the act during the week before Christmas. That omission may signal trouble, as passage of the act doesn’t guarantee its funding.

In January and February, Congress will decide how much money will actually be spent on it. House Republicans have made the National Science Foundation a symbol of wasteful spending, so America Competes may still lose.

It fell to Presidential science advisor John Holdren to celebrate the act’s passage on the White House blog.

“Full funding of the Competes Act is among the most important things that Congress can do to ensure America’s continued leadership in the decades ahead,” he wrote.

The act calls for a total of $7.4 billion above 2010 funding levels, directed towards a host of agencies including the Department of Energy, the National Institute for Science and Technology, and the National Science Foundation. It shifts funding away from basic research and towards applications, and calls for regular X-Prize-style competitions to solve engineering problems.

The act is rooted in a 2005 National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America,” and its sequel released in September.

America’s “vitality is derived in large part from the production of well-trained people and the steady stream of scientific and technical innovations they produce,” concluded the first report. “Without a renewed effort to bolster the foundations of our competitiveness, we can expect to lose our privileged position,” warned the latter.

During its crafting in congressional committee last spring, America Competes received bipartisan support. It was held up, however, by Representative Ralph Hall (R-Texas), formerly the ranking Republican member of the House Committee on Science and Technology.

Hall’s objections failed to stop the act, but he is now the science committee’s incoming chair.
---

At least NSF has an expert approval process, unlike some subsidies :roll:
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John F
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Re: A Gloomy Forecast For The Unemployed

Post by John F » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:35 am

Daniel Lemire wrote:Terence Kealey has been arguing against public funding of science. Is it efficient to fund science with government dollars? He argues that when science is mostly funded by large government agencies, other funding souces are effectively crowded out. He has two good historical example. Firstly, while France massively invested in research and academic institutions in the 17th and 18th centuries, the United Kingdom, and not France, gave birth to the industrial revolution and the accompanying scientific surge.
On the other hand, 17th and 18th century France gave birth to the Enlightenment, which gave birth to the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution - in effect to America - not to mention to such milestones of intellectual achievement as Diderot's Encyclopédie. These matters have no direct bearing on economic growth, which is Lemire's and Kealey's focus, but who's to say that they are less important?
Daniel Lemire wrote:Secondly, the United States was leading the world in technological innovation starting in the 19th century whereas it had a comparative underdeveloped academic system, and no public research funding.
This immense generalization requires at least an essay and probably a book to argue the case. I do not accept it as a bald statement of fact.

As living_stradivarius says, the discussion that follows Lemire's opener is full of interest, and shows that Kealey's generalizations as summarized and approved by Lemire are at best simplistic.
John Francis

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