one-third of the total dollar amount of research and development in the U.S.
flows through or is funded by the state. Estimates of government funding in
other nations range from one-fourth to three-fourths of total R & D
all over the world massively finance, control, and regulate science and
technology. They do this (i) by levying taxes and funneling the money to
favored projects, (ii) by powerful laws, orders, and directives, (iii) by
tying science and technology into such political concerns as the military,
energy, and the environment, (iv) by favoring and supporting the influence of
some scientists and not others within scientific communities, (v) by
supporting some interest groups and not others, and (vi) by glossing over the
whole process of power by using various media to feed the public distorted
views of the science and state alliance.
such a widespread state-controlled method of prodigiously funding science and
technology be fundamentally mistaken? Can so many human beings in so many
nations be investing in science and technology projects in the wrong way, in
a way that destroys value rather than creating it, in a way that destroys
wealth rather than creates it, in a way that destroys lives rather than
saving them? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are
human beings organized into nation-states can kill each other in monstrous
numbers through wars, they certainly can undermine their own well-being and
progress through other state activities. Science and technology comprise one
such major avenue of state-directed spending and control. Many of the
world’s states certainly blundered by banning DDT in 1972 and years thereafter.
These bans have killed millions of human beings taken by malaria. They have
led to the increased spread of insect-borne diseases such as dengue and West
Nile virus. The Food and Drug Administration routinely kills people by such
means as forbidding manufacturers to inform doctors
of off-label uses of drugs, imposing obstacles on the approval
of life-saving medical devices, and delaying
the approval of new drugs and treatments. Now, in 2007,
using the propaganda of man-made climate change and flaunting the banner of
science, states and environmental interest groups all over the world are
furthering death and destruction by promoting laws that regulate carbon
dioxide and other gases.
is a good thing. In the hands of the state, science is a good thing gone bad.
and the state are tightly linked. To see how and why, it is helpful to step
back and see the big picture. In doing this, we notice in passing that the
state also wishes to control and/or exploit such fields as education, health,
economics, communications, and transportation.
be taken as axiomatic that those who run the state wish to perpetuate and
enhance its and their powers. This simple truth has broad ramifications. In
particular, since the state has a legal monopoly of violence in a given
territorial area, its members view everything within that region, organic and
inorganic, as subject to their power; and they view all of it, human and
non-human, as means to the end of enhancing their control and maintaining the
state, recognizing, of course, that they do not possess unlimited power and
must act within constraints.
state therefore views all the land (natural resources), all the labor
(people), and all the property and capital owned by people within its
territory as being subject to its manipulation, power, and control; and it
constantly acts to extend its control over all these resources and use them
to hold and expand that power. This relation between state and what it sees
as its property explains why states attempt to control vital communication
and transportation networks and focal points.
the fact that the state has the power of law over people explains why, in
health, education and economic matters, it views human beings as resources,
that is, things. It constantly measures their abilities, health, and
productivity as any rational slave owner would also do. It routinely views
people in terms of their usefulness to the state, as faceless and obedient
"citizens," as "productive members of society," as
"draftees," as "members of the workforce," as
"wage-earners," as "salaried employees," as
"employed," as "unemployed," as "troops," as
"members of the armed services," and so on. Of course, the
state’s propaganda becomes even more dangerous and sickening when it
shifts from adverting to people as robotic cogs in a national machine and
instead feigns human sympathy and makes itself seem almost human by relating
anecdotes that identify individuals by name.
picture I paint is, of course, diametrically opposed to the perpetual
rhetoric of the state with which we are inundated and which makes
full-fledged critics appear to belong to the ranks of the delusional. But
that is because all of the state’s propaganda and rhetoric is aimed at
maintaining a submissive population under its control. The state’s
rhetoric is not truth or even a pale reflection of truth. It is solely a
means of relaxing the constraints that people’s natural antipathy to
being controlled might otherwise impose. Any other view than this simply does
not accord with the state’s power and its actions, which speak far
louder than its words.
is like yesteryear
come now to science. As essential components of its extensions of power and
control over its territorial resources, the state necessarily uses science
and technology. Pronounced attention to weather, engineering, geography, and
the application of technology to military purposes by state powers have a
long history. In the case of mapping, we are told by Encyclopedia
Britannica that "The development in Europe of power-conscious
national states, with standing armies, professional officers, and engineers,
stimulated an outburst of topographic activity in the 18th century,
reinforced to some extent by increasing civil needs for basic data. Many
countries of Europe began to undertake the systematic topographic mapping of
their territories." Most of these "have been set up by the armed
forces or their responsible ministries."
Feb. 10, 1807, the ninth U.S. Congress appropriated $50,000 in "An Act
to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States." The Coast and
Geodetic Survey eventually became part of today’s NOAA (National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) which is part of the Department of
mapping came state geological surveys. The Geological Survey of Great Britain
began in 1835. The U.S. Geological Survey, still part of the Department of
the Interior, began on March 3, 1879. We frequently find scientists and
science societies intimately involved with these acts of state. Beyond
supporting them publicly, they benefit from direct subsidies, employment of
scientists, and government preference for the projects that they tout. The
supportive science societies are often already linked to the state. Congress
created the National Academy of Sciences on March 3, 1863, and this body
recommended to Congress that it fund the U.S. Geological Survey in order
"to classify the public lands and to examine the geologic structure,
mineral resources and products of the national domain."
early uses of science by the state and consequent involvement of scientists
with the state, either by outright employment, association with the military,
or by subsidies, go toward the state’s control over its lands and seas,
to boundaries, to location of critical masses, to assessment of its mineral
and other wealth, to military purposes, and to taxation purposes. They go to
questions of transportation and communications networks, often for military
ends of control, such as river traffic and telegraph stations. They go toward
subduing hostile elements within a country and at its borders. Eventually,
the state would recruit all manner of social scientists for similar purposes
having to do with human resources. But at the same time, many in the
scientific communities willingly enter a symbiotic relationship that provides
them with resources they might otherwise have to work a lot harder to secure.
should therefore come as no surprise that scientists of today, typically
located in university departments whose specialities are meteorology,
climatology, oceanography, and so on, are pushing for more and more
sophisticated and extensive mapping, measurement, and surveying of the
earth’s ever-changing geology, surface, ocean surface, atmosphere,
climate, weather, etc., using expensive rockets and satellites, all of which
are to be paid for by taxes and administered through state agencies. The
current propaganda on behalf of these projects involves the rosy-sounding
rhetoric of public/private partnerships with ample promises of public
benefits. This hides its essential features, which include immorally and
coercively extracting funds from unwilling taxpayers and distributing these
funds to the proponents of scientific projects, said scientists either being
unable or unwilling to fund their projects by other non-coercive means, such
as by voluntary contributions, businesses, or philanthropists.
should it come as a surprise that many states are anxious to gain strong
footholds in controlling vantage points in space or in knowledge of weather,
geology, or climatology that give them advantages in dealing both with their
own populations and with other states. Nothing fundamental has really changed
in these particular political ambitions. The playing fields may have changed
from surveying coastlines to surveying weather worldwide, but the essential
motivations of the states are unchanged.
is not simply scientific method objectively applied to phenomena, as
over-simplified explanations of science suggest. The justifiably high praise
directed at science and technology emphasizes that they have value in producing
knowledge as a good. In turn, knowledge as a good has value in producing
goods for consuming.
and technology make our lives better, without any doubt; but they are not
manna. Science, technology, and the goods they produce are not free. The production
processes of science and technology cost. We cannot attain the values science
brings us without using scarce factors like time, labor, capital, and natural
resources. If we devote scarce time, labor, capital and resources to
scientific stunts like placing a man on the moon by the year 1970, so that
several astronauts can spend less than a day collecting 46 pounds of lunar
rocks, then we prevent ourselves from other achievements with far greater
should be viewed in terms of the concepts of market exchange, like demand and
supply. Science is a production process. Like any such process, it requires
time, labor, capital, and land.
baker produces bread; a scientist produces knowledge. New knowledge costs. We
cannot know everything costlessly. Knowledge is produced. There are costs of
producing knowledge. New knowledge doesn’t come free. Information
costs. Learning (gaining knowledge) costs. Discovery costs. Inventing costs.
Interpreting and understanding cost.
cannot know everything, nor do we decide to find out everything, even when
this is possible, because of the costs of finding out. Doing science incurs
costs at every step of the way. We do not want to waste limited resources
learning how many grains of sand are on a beach, unless we either envision
that the knowledge has value or we happen to get utility from knowing this
abstruse fact. Even behind curiosity lie economic reasons for its chosen
must decide how to allocate scarce resources among the competing possibilities
of attaining knowledge. But we already know how to do this in a moral and
efficient way, and that is through voluntary market exchanges in which
individual consumers buy what provides value to them. The individual
purchases and non-purchases of individual consumers provide the signals to
producers as to what scientific projects are worth investing in and what are
not. Consumers are the only ones who can indicate by their freely-chosen
actions what is valuable to them. In possession of freedom, they rule the
roost. Any other dictatorial and unfree method, such as paying taxes and
subsidizing projects that "experts" want or scientists prefer, is
guaranteed not to provide value to consumers. In this case, scientists and
politicians rule the roost.
free country, science should be subject to the market test. It should pay its
way. If it has value, it will be embodied in goods that consumers want and
are willing to pay for. There is simply no need or justification for state
intervention on behalf of consumers, and such intervention invariably
destroys markets, value creation, wealth and lives.
also applies to the relations between the state and scientists. The state
needs scientists for a variety of purposes that cement its control.
Scientists need money, an infinite amount of money, to fund an infinite
number of projects. After all, the extent of potential knowledge is
uncountably infinite. Hence, scientists gravitate to the state’s
coffers and lobby for money; and their demands must always be indefinitely
great. The result is what we see, a heavy presence of the state in science.
value human life, science and technology should not be funded by the state.
This leads to nothing but the destruction of value and wealth. The cozy
relations between the state and science and technology harm us. Each of the
billions and billions of dollars extracted from taxpayers and funneled to a
multitude of eager scientific hands tears down freedom. Taxpayers are made to
pay as a group. As such, they no longer decide as individuals how to spend
their own money. Taxpayers are made to pay, and professionals decide.
Taxpayers pay, but experts and specialists rule.
are consumers. Left in freedom to spend their money as they please, their
buying signifies value creation. As direct consumers of products directly
consumed, they cannot be fooled.
science-state nexus forces wealth out of the hands of consumers, shattering
freedom; breaking down the free-market cooperation between buyer demanding
value and producer supplying value; replacing freedom with a one-way belt
conveying money from consumers to members of the scientific community who
need not produce anything of value to consumers but who, posing as knowing
authorities and benefactors of mankind, soft-soap everyone in sight with
promises of endless wealth and valuable knowledge, breakthroughs,
technological marvels, pretty photographs, fancy diagrams, charts, and
graphs, stunts, gadgets, marvels, elixirs, miracles, gimmicks, and toys. It is
relatively easy for scientists to fool and mislead Congressmen who do not
directly consume the products of science. But, on their side, the Congressmen
(and other officials) have their own political reasons for wanting to spend
taxpayer funds on various projects.
totally quixotic, ill-conceived, mistaken, and unnecessary movement
associated with climate change, an important example of
junk-environmentalism, is but one specific instance of the massive potential
and actual wealth destruction that the state’s control over science and
technology brings us.
and technology should not be funded and controlled by the state, but it is.
And this will continue because that is in the state’s interest. This
long-standing problem, along with similar problems in education, health,
economics, communications, and transportation, seriously affect the lives and
longevity of all of us.
Michael S. Rozeff is a retired Professor of Finance
living in East Amherst, New York. He publishes regularly his ideas and
analysis on www.LewRockwell.com .
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission
to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is