Medicine And Books

The Economic Laws of Scientific Research

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 14 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:697
  1. Tom Wilkie

    Terence Kealey Macmillan, £15.99, pp 382 ISBN 0 333 65755 1

    Kealey believes that Britain has too many scientists; that the state should not finance scientific research (other than for military purposes); and that if the state withdraws then this will release money in the form of tax cuts, allowing private industry or charities to step into the gap. Because many individuals would take the decisions to fund science if it were left to the private and charitable sectors, this would lead to a more rational outcome than the state would produce.

    The problem with this ideology is that the experiment has already been tried. Until the first world war, successive British governments took little interest in science other …

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