Anders Sandberg wrote:
> This is not just a matter of opinion or organisational theory,
> experience seems to have borne out that centrally planned research
> initiatives have been less efficient than free research (the obvious
> example is Soviet research, although the EU framework programs are
> looking more and more worrying too).
I would agree with the above statement. Yet a global research consortium that monitors all such activity to help coordinate and guide all R&D efforts would still be beneficial if structured correctly. It could be structured as a think tank of experts in R&D who could offer input as to where public research funds would be most beneficially spent, which advise should exceed the abilities of politicians. Additionally, this think tank could facilitate the creation of a comprehensive online clearinghouse of all public research information. The Global Inventory Project at http://www.gip.int/en/noframes.htm seeks to fulfill a similar type of clearinghouse role, but limited to Information Society information only.
> It is better to have groups that independently select what to study
> and invest in, based on their knowledge (which they have a strong
> incentive to do the most with, since it is their money). Collaboration
> and avoiding duplication can be achieved in a decentralized fashion
> such as the current scientific networking or net databases of "who's doing
The profit motive as facilitated by the patent system promotes private research efforts. It would be interesting if someone could devise a way to increase such efforts. As to public funding I would agree that the more independent groups that can be financed, the more likely we are to increase the knowledge base of humanity.