Investing in Science

U.S. President Barack Obama has promised that he will increase the government budget for science research from 2.6% to at least 3.0% of the GDP. That goal represents a net increase of about 15%, a not insignificant amount. According to the BBC News article, Obama said:

“A half century ago, this nation made a commitment to lead the world in scientific and technological innovation…There are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities. I fundamentally disagree…Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment and our quality of life than it has ever been before.”

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This Daily Revolution writer applauds Obama’s decision. Commitment to science is commitment to knowledge; there can’t be too much, especially given the state of global warming and dwindling fossil fuels. It is also interesting to compare the United States’ scientific research budget to other countries’. The article includes a graph showing that Japan and South Korea allocate approximately 3.25% of their respective GDPs to science research; the countries of the European Union allocate just over 2.75%, and China just under 1.5%.

Where do you think we should be? What should we be studying, and why? Enquiring minds want to know.