The Dim-Post

May 12, 2010

Science funding

Filed under: Politics,science — danylmc @ 12:12 pm

This seems to follow a cyclical pattern in which new governments look around for money to cut/spend; realise there are no lobby groups or large voter constituencies defending science funding and scrap it all. Then it occurs to them that we have poor economic growth and low productivity and cast around for ways to improve it. All the experts tell them they desperately need to invest in science. Thus bold new intitiatives funding science and technlology are announced. Until . . .

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18 Comments »

  1. there are no lobby groups or large voter constituencies defending science funding

    It’s the same thing with Statistics. They’re doing a great job with what they have, but if Statistics NZ were given more resources to improve their measurement of GDP (especially for financial services and the ‘unobserved’ sector) we could substantially narrow the GDP/Capita gap with Australia without implementing a single controversial tax measure.

    Comment by Phil — May 12, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  2. What a wonderful world we live in. We can just borrow $250 million a week, our budget deficits is expected to last for the next six years, and the government is just increasing spending, and stopped mining.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — May 12, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  3. We can just borrow $250 million a week

    I don’t think we’re borrowing that much anymore – all those evil socialist inventions like ACC, the Cullen fund and the EQC made shitloads of money for the state this year.

    Comment by danylmc — May 12, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  4. Phil: your sentence is much more awesome with “(especially for financial services and the ‘unobserved’ sector)” removed.

    Comment by mjl — May 12, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  5. We can just borrow $250 million a week

    Yes, keep saying it. That’s the way you make something happen.

    Comment by dontsurf — May 12, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  6. There’s an alternative explanation of course, one that is equally cynical.

    That’s that if National continued the Labour scheme they’d have received no credit. Having cut it, then can now get the kudos for a “new” initiative.

    Plus they saved a few bucks in the short term.

    Comment by scrubone — May 12, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  7. Hmmm, how is the knowledge economy coming along, anyway? It’s been what, 15 years in the making now? And yet according to Stephen Joyce all we’re good for is milking cows…

    Comment by Bearhunter — May 12, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  8. Is it really cyclical? Did Labour scrap science funding back in 99 or 2000?

    I’d be surprised if that were true.

    Comment by taranaki — May 12, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  9. And yet according to Stephen Joyce all we’re good for is milking cows…

    Comment by Bearhunter

    To be fair to Joyce, that is how he got his degree.

    Comment by dontsurf — May 12, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  10. Is it? I thought he just hung around so long they gave him a piece of paper to get him to go away.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — May 12, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  11. Phil: your sentence is much more awesome with “(especially for financial services and the ‘unobserved’ sector)” removed.
    Comment by mjl

    Whoa, I thought I’d put some . and , in there.

    As it happens though, the measurement of financial services in GDP is recognised as one of the most difficult items to measure. Most countries use a method called FISIM (Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured) which is widely acknowledged to understate the value the financial sector provides to GDP.

    The ‘unobserved economy’ is the more interesting part. With the exception of NZ and Japan, I believe all OECD countries include an estimate for unobserved/black-market/under-the-table income in their GDP measures. For the scrupulously honest Japanese, the impact on GDP/Capita will be negligible. For NZ it’s a much bigger source of wealth.

    Comment by Phil — May 12, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  12. Wonder how they’re going to measure whether the increased funding is working, given the long time scales science funding usually requires.

    Comment by Owen — May 12, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  13. isn’t our on-going dilemma the fact that we can’t afford more science research and therefore can’t grow the economy and because we can’t grow the economy we can’t afford more science research?

    which is ironic since cows don’t have horns.

    Comment by Neil — May 12, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  14. “The ‘unobserved economy’ is the more interesting part. With the exception of NZ and Japan, I believe all OECD countries include an estimate for unobserved/black-market/under-the-table income in their GDP measures.”

    Which is ironic, considering we are one of the only countries that charges income tax on illegal enterprises (for some reason, other countries just assume that criminals can’t be trusted to declare the income).

    I wonder if Pakistan counts bribes in its GDP measure? I can imagine it making a big difference.

    Comment by kahikatea — May 12, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  15. why has Labour picked David Shearer to go up against Peter Gluckman on these issues?

    Shearer has no background in science and science funding ande shows now curiosity about the subject and Glucklman is the poster boy for how to make money thru science.

    Comment by Neil — May 12, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  16. It freaked me out a bit when I got to Oztraya and discovered that the income declaration rules are quite different here.

    Comment by moz — May 12, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

  17. I believe the USA requires illegal income to be declared for the purpose of taxation. I imagine the rationale here is the same as it is there: it allows investigations to be carried out (using federal resources) based solely on disparities between declared income and lifestyle (which is an indicator of tax fraud). In other words, it lowers the standard of evidence required to investigate someone.

    Comment by derp de derp — May 13, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  18. Neil:which is ironic since cows don’t have horns.

    A little genetic tinkering could probably fix that.

    Comment by chiz — May 13, 2010 @ 3:57 pm


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