I posted this on a friend’s Facebook page today. It seems self-contained enough that I want to repost it here:
Relating to the specific issue of private versus public funding of basic research, I don’t have much to say other than: crowding out. Nobody will be able to make a convincing argument (at least, not to me) that the public sector NEEDS to fund basic research until it can be shown that the private sector does not and will not. In order to do that we need to stop all public sector funding and see what the private sector does. Until the counterfactual is performed and the null hypothesis is proved then it’s just lobbyists lobbying.