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Book Reviews : The Economic Laws of Scientific Research Terence Kealey, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1996 ISBN: 0-312-17306-7, $19.95, 382 pages

Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society , Volume 17 (4): 215 – Aug 1, 1997

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Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0270-4676
eISSN
0270-4676
D.O.I.
10.1177/027046769701700451
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Book Reviews : The Economic Laws of Scientific Research Terence Kealey, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1996 ISBN: 0-312-17306-7, $19.95, 382 pages

Abstract

215 Book ReviewsThe Economic Laws of Scientific Research Terence Kealey, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1996 ISBN: 0-312-17306-7, $19.95, 382 pages SAGE Publications, Inc.1997DOI: 10.1177/027046769701700451 Allan Walstad University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Johnstown, PA 15904 Email: awalstad@upj.pitt.edu Economic growth depends on technological innovation, which depends in turn on scientific research. Because there is insufficient incentive for private firms and individuals to support science, laissez faire would produce too little of it, with the result that economic growth would be stunted. Thus, government must take responsibility for funding science. So goes an argument that has been made by scientists and science advocates since Francis Bacon. But is it valid? After all, wealthy industrialized countries (Western Europe, English-speaking former British colonies, Japan) became wealthy before their governments spent much on science, while poor countries (most notably the USSR) that lavished funding on science did not thereby get rich. One is entitled, therefore, to at lease some doubt regarding the economic case for government funding. Terence Kealey, a biochemist at Cambridge University, seeks to discredit that case entirely in The Economic Laws of Scientific Research. According to Kealey, technological innovation can stimulate economic growth, but the essential ingredient in that process
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