theodp writes "Name an industry that can produce 1 million new, high-paying jobs over the next three years, challenges BusinessWeek. You can't, because there isn't one. And that's the problem. So what's the answer? Basic research can repair the broken US business model, argues BW, saying it's the key to new, high-quality job creation. Scientific research legends like Bell Labs, Sarnoff Corp, and Xerox PARC are essentially gone, or shadows of their former selves. And while IBM, Microsoft, and HP collectively spend $17B a year on R&D, only 3%-5% of that is for basic science. In a post-9/11 world, DARPA's mission has shifted from science to tactical projects with short-term military applications. Cutting back on investment in basic science research may make great sense in the short term, but as corporations and government make the same decision to free-ride off the investments of others, society suffers the 'tragedy of the commons,' wherein multiple actors operating in their self-interest do harm to the overall public good. We've reached that point, says BW, and we're just beginning to see the consequences. The cycle needs to be reversed, and it needs to be done quickly."
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