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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 138 of Matt Ridley’s superb 2015 book, The Evolution of Everything (links added):

‘The problem with the papers of [Richard] Nelson and [Kenneth] Arrow,’ writes [Terence] Kealey, ‘was that they were theoretical and one or two troublesome souls, on peering out of their economists’ eyries, noted that in the real world there did seem to be some privately funded research happening.’  Kealey argues that there is still no empirical demonstration of the need for public funding of research, and that the historical record suggests the opposite.  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Britain and the United States made huge contributions to science with negligible public funding, while Germany and France, with hefty public funding, achieved no greater results either in science or in economics.  ‘The industrialised nations whose governments invested least in science did best economically,’ says Kealey, ‘and they didn’t do so badly in science either.’