Re: Bureaucracies, genomes & vaccines (was: Sex drives...)
Skye Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 11:31:55 -0700 (PDT)
I wouldn't be too surprised to see GM promoting
bicycle use outside of their sales area, heh heh...
there could be a few advantages to such things for big
businesses after all...
- "Robert J. Bradbury" <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Bureaucracies virtually never produce anything
> How wrong you are 'o libertarian one! :-)
> I will simply cite the history of the human genome
> When the HGP was started (circa 1985), nobody
> thought it
> was possible. So picking a number out of a hat,
> they picked
> 2005 as a reasonable completion date.
> For about 5 years nothing happened because the
> technology did
> not exist to do it. In the early 1990's they
> decided that
> substantial progress needed to be made in the
> technologies, so NIH funded a series of development
> That lead to 3-5 labs developing the basic
> improvements and
> prototypes of the capillary sequencing apparatus
> that are
> now being sold by Molecular Dynamics and Perkin
> Applied Biosystems. [A clear case of government
> technologies migrating to industrial production.]
> When it became clear (after ~5-7 years of R&D), what
> capacities of the machines were, the government
> its completion target date to 2003.
> Perkin Elmer decided that its machines could provide
> interesting business oportunity to get into the
> care business (a growth industry) and together with
> Craig Venter (from Human Genome Sciences & The
> for Genomic Research -- the people who sequenced the
> bacterial genomes), founded Celera and said that
> they would
> sequence the genome by 2001.
> The government "bureaucracy", non-plused by such
> (and the concern that a private company might patent
> portions of the human genome), accelerated its time
> and has issued contracts to the most productive labs
> in operation to get 90% of the genome done by next
> So, what was to have been a ~20 year, $2-3 billion
> project is coming in ahead of schedule and under
> I will allow that industry competition has helped
> schedule along, but it took some highly motivated
> visionary individuals (Dr. Watson being a key
> saying something is possible and desirable,
> the government "bureaucracy" to make a long term
> commitment to a project whose feasibility and
> were substantially doubtable to produce a result
> which will be critical for your long term health
> and well-being!
> Government bureaucracies *do work*, in situations
> the economic justifications for projects cannot be
> made in industry (who have to watch the bottom
> Given that situation, you have to allow for a higher
> failure rate among the things that government
> attempt. This is why the congressional criticisms
> "stupid" or "failed" projects can be
> in the long term. If it were an "assured success" a
> would have done it before the government even
> about doing it.
> I would add that much of the Web as we know it today
> would not exist (or would have been significantly
> if DARPA (a government agency) hadn't funded the
> of the TCP/IP protocols back in the '60s. We also
> probably wouldn't have the fast computers as fast as
> those currently on your desk have if NASA hadn't
> pushed for
> miniaturization and integrated circuits in the race
> to the moon.
> We certainly wouldn't have solar cells, that if
> prices continue
> to decline, you should be able to install in for
> your own
> home power system within 10 years, freeing yourself
> from the
> local electrical monopoly, if the government had not
> may years funded their R&D.
> Yes, 'o Libertarian-Wan, governments & bureaucracies
> are universally bad...
> The solution to the DMV problem is to introduce
> [I assume that brothels will be in competition with
> other so they would never end up looking like the
> DMV. :-)]
> Now, switching tracks entirely, industry and/or
> competition is
> not a universal good!
> In a highly competitive environment, you cannot make
> investments necessary for long term R&D projects.
> You *also*
> generally *do not* undertake projects that will
> result in
> the elimination of your market. What Razor/razor
> manufacturing company would undertake a project for
> research into creams that permanently prevent hair
> Only if a competitor appears to be on the verge of
> such a breakthrough would a company be forced to
> this type of development. I've seen some
> documentaries on PBS about how GM methodically went
> buying up and shutting down public transportation
> to increase the market for automobiles. A collective
> companies will act in their own self-interest to
> the sales of their products. You will not see
> act in a way to promote bicycles (or mass-transit)!
> A case in point would be the pharmaceutical industry
> vaccines. What pharmaceutical company is going to
> a one-time vaccine, when they could instead devote
> resources to a multiple-use drug? Most vaccines
> been developed either by government "bureaucracies"
> or by contracts that the government made with
> or by non-profit organizations.
> On the other hand, I suspect you as a consumer would
> generally prefer a one-time polio shot as an infant
> to many years spent in an iron-lung that used to
> be sold on a per-patient basis!
> An industry will not generally act in a way so as to
> eliminate its markets, on the other hand a
> can act in the collective interest of its citizens.
> The fundamental question then becomes what are these
> "collective interests"?!?
> > (preserving wetlands and endangered species, for
> Aha, well here we come to the crux of the problem.
> As a home buyer with an interest in affordable
> you would like to see land inexpensively developed.
> As a contractor intested in profits, you would
> to have more land available and fewer environmental
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