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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Funding Research: Who is responsible?


I tend to think that the Government should fund research and education and, consequently, finance universities, conferences, workshops, research-groups, museums, etc. After all, an educated society tends to be a better one for everyone to live in. The Government should finance it, hence, also because of selfish reasons.
However, this kind of reasons does not seem to appeal to today's politicians. The general trend in Europe seems to go towards less welfare state, including education and especially research among the expenses one can reasonably cut down.
Should a new era begin, in which private citizens should feel responsible and do what the state refutes to do? Until now, enlightened citizens have been lobbying in favour of funds for education and research. Should they actually start financing it themselves?
We all agree that it is right to finance the art-historians and all the people involved in the organization of an exhibition by paying a ticket. We would not dream of going to a rock-concert without paying for it. Many of us donate to their church, or to charities. If this is normal, why not funding research, too? I am not just talking about large-scale projects. I rather think of the minor contributions of many people and how this could have a minor impact on the world, but a major one for the people involved.

3 comments:

Dominik Wujastyk said...

In this context, Elisa, you might be interested to see
http://www.kickstarter.com/

Best,
Dominik

elisa freschi said...

Thank you, Dominik, very interesting indeed. Did you ever consider using it (either as a donor or to have a project sponsored)?

Dominik Wujastyk said...

I only discovered it recently, and yes, I've been thinking seriously about trying it out. But ... if you look at some projects that have failed even to get $1, it makes you realize that a project has to have generic human appeal. Lots of our most interesting indological problems don't qualify.

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