With lockdowns in place, nature seems to be reclaiming the earth. Skies are clear, with pollution levels across cities hitting all time lows; rivers are cleaner, with lost life returning in them; and people across the globe are spotting all sorts of animals and insects they’ve never seen around their locality before. It is amply clear that a frozen economy clears the skies. But for how long? With the industrial normalcy will return the natural abnormalities. Does it mean that there has to be a trade-off between economic prosperity and healthy environment? Can we not create an economic ecosystem which doesn’t undermine the ceaseless human endeavors and even so, is essentially eco-friendly? or is this a trade-off we are bound to make? If it is to be achieved, we, as a society, must capitalize on innovative scientific research coupled with development of environment conscious, rather than short-sighted reckless corporates. Scientific advancements shall help devise solutions to climate related problems; and a wise management shall organize and implement the solutions in ways that least compromise the corporate profits and thus, keeping our ardor for commercial development flourishing. But, are these not all impractical notions without having any empirical substance? After all, our ambitious rockets don’t seem to escape the horizons without the immense thrust of toxic propellants (both literally and metaphorically), unless a very costly research gives a green solution, which might in turn cripple our economic aspirations. The only tangible solution, to my mind, is more and more privatization of scientific research. A corporate funded research will be more streamlined, more relevant and proportionally funded. By imposing certain restrictions - in order to reduce carbon footprint - and giving incentives for green corporation, we will automatically drive corporates towards funding green research in their respective niches. For this to be economically viable, related sectors should look to create common platforms and share the outcomes.
Sorry, what is the upshot? @Bakul
I am giving an idea to address the issue of reckless private companies damaging environment (with regard to the pollution they generate); and insufficient funding for scientist research, by suggesting a merger of both. The article suggests how we can prompt corporates to start funding relevant research to reduce carbon footprints. Thus, creating an economic ecosystem which caters to both issues without compromising on our industrial ambitions as a growing country.
Please see the discussion here. It is important to recognise the need for all kinds of publicly funded research to be accessible to all.
To my mind, public funding includes any form of reduction in taxation offered to business houses in return for investing in research and development. The history of such research, when enclosed within a package of restrictions, is for that package to be traded as a commodity. Often, the commodity is not purchased in order to be exploited, but to be buried, as it represents a threat to the ongoing profit flow of the purchaser.
It is for exactly this reason that businesses do not invest in ‘green’ technologies, even those that promise future savings.
Not clear. Are you saying Govt funding is the root cause?
In the US scientific research is sufficiently private, and there is a lot of corporates funding research. How streamlined were they?
From my viewpoint,
The base of our soceity is capitalism. The corporate cannot invest their capital in science / technology or any other field without profit. They want how to make source of money from research. For capital , even they don’t care for environment also.
Obviously we can make economic ecosystem when there will be no issues of great profit by some corporates or capitalist.
There production of goods will be as per need. On this system, people will work for 3-4 hours because production will be as per need. They can invest their time for nature.
Privatization of scientific research is not solution. Because when some corporate or capitalists undertake research , the orientation of these research will be how to make money from these research.
When our research will be socialized , it will be more more fruitful.
Hi, what I am suggesting is putting the corporates under regulatory obligations imposed by the governments (say lowering the permissible emission standards extremely low). By doing so, they’ll be forced to invest in finding greener alternatives and will be exhorted further to do so by the incentives (which doesn’t necessarily have to be massive monetary packages per say) govt. will provide.
Yes, the practical complications relating its implementation highlighted by you are legitimate. I’ve tried to rephrase myself in my reply to arnab. Please reflect upon that. Although, I don’t disagree with you.
I am saying that directly government funded researches are inadequately funded. And corporate funded researches will certainly be more objective and streamlined. I see a lot of govt. labs running for years and years giving no useful outcomes.
Yeah, you are telling that government will impose some strict rules to corporates. But any nation characteristic is based on capitalism all over the world.
Any government is governed by capitalists and corporates. How can government impose rules on them???
With deteriorating environment these restrictions are going become almost indispensable, only to be imposed far more abruptly. Why not ease into it slowly. Corporates think in terms short term profits, which is dangerous; and they will have to realize it soon enough. As far as your argument of governments being virtual puppets of corporate world concerned, I do not disagree. It is a problem which must be solved otherwise we are bound to be doomed.
Obviously , we have to think for our environment. But the main perspective of corporate or capitalists world is how to make market in all over the world, how to privatize all national wealths, how to make cheapest labour market all over the world. They cannot think for anything. Economic situation is also related with our environment also. There are many examples.
But I will not go on these issues. But still we have to think for our peoples and obviously environment also.
Gross over simplification. Economic activity is far more complicated than simple panacea of all or none. There are innumerable examples of successful government funded research. There innumerable examples of privately funded research. There are innumerable examples of joint ventures.
What is lacking in India is proper management ie scientist managers. That such a person would be far more engaged in administrative tasks than research is likely to keep out- by CHOICE- the best candidates from management.
Several public funded indian organizations have been busy monetizing research. The results are mostly pathetic.
Most indian business with deep pockets have become so not with risking on innovation with cutting edge research. But from sheltered economic activity more bluntly known as crony capitalism.
Thus massaging funding wont serve any purpose until cronyism and nepotism is removed and there is sufficient incentive for scientist to engage in administrative roles.
Simultaneously our schools and universities are fine tuned to produce finely sculpted bricks. They function very well as such. Until innovation and unconventional thinking become the norm the previous paras are wish horses.
One might imagine that elite schools would be nurturing creativity. My recent experience in an extremely elite school showed otherwise. While @ravisinha experience in probably one of the most underprivileged locations showed the kids to be extremely creative and innovative.
"Yes, it does come with its fair share of challenges. What I am suggesting is a comprehensive merger of commerce and science; and the problem is that we produce managers with no scientific caliber and scientists with no commercial skills; while we need a unified approach for sustainable development. Therefore, inclusion of environmental studies courses in business management programs like MBA to incorporate a sense of understanding and responsibility towards preserving environment in future business leaders is seminal. "
This is an excerpt from my full article and it tries to address the issues you are highlighting. Idea of scientists being managers is impractical (as you mentioned) but incorporating scientific caliber in managers is not. That’s what i am suggesting.
And yes, it is obviously simplified, because its just an idea, ideas give directions and not comprehensive empirical solutions, which are produced over time with elaboration and testing of the basic ideas.
Crony capitalism, public access to info and nepotism are issues which will weigh in only if i were suggesting a complete takeover of science by just corporates. And developments to green researches should not be subject to exclusive commercial rights, that would be a problem, otherwise, whats the harm in working for corporates for a better future. After all, i don’t think governments in developing countries like ours are giving adequate support to scientific research in form of finding and other resources.
Cronyism etc are very much part of the government and bureaucracy which is inseparably attached to government funding. As much as it is in corporates.
Hence funding method is unlikely to change this scenario.
Also methinks that scientist can be good managers given suitable management training. One particularly disastrous body wholly directed by private punks and wholly funded by taxpayers is UIDAI. Even as we speak another monstrosity arising from the same cesspool of corporate cronyism is the covid app. The former abetted by the SC.
Our malaise is almost chronic. Albeit both are about tech and not research.
Without any funding how do we carry our researches then? Since, colleges and other educational institutes are prime examples of ignored research ideas in India (with exception of few apex institutes like iits and iims). We simply don’t have enough to feed people, let alone conducting costly researches. That’s where private corporates jump in and help.
All your concerns are absolutely legit. But what’s the solution? Where’s the alternative?
Some action points
Political revamp. Some form of proportional representation to avoid the fragmented nature of our society causing horribly skewed political representation. ( I know this is required first but might happen last)
Every research institution having to compulsorily mentor several undergrad institutions. Undergrad institutions having to mentor schools. Undergrad will also include Arts, Commerce, Management streams.
Interdisciplinary research to be provided additional resources.
General public to be allowed to participate freely ( heck merely standing in such a mentored room will prime the public to keep away the type of unscientific idiotic acts on display in society ). Ensure public notices at every nook and corner of such programs, including public and private news channels.
Boost education funding to 4% of gdp
Create and freely publish and publicise local journals and research. Consolidate them into a smaller set more amenable to government funding
Ensure open access and public patents for all public funded research.
The research money chase