but…but….science is different!

December 2, 2008 § 1 Comment

juniorprof is stepping up and posting on some issues I’ve been thinking about since the election of Barack Obama to be the next US president. So I’d better get some thoughts out there.

The US economy is in shambles. In a situation like this we ask ourselves what shifts we will make to improve the situation for our fellow citizens. Like it or not, some of those sentiments are a bit nativist and antiglobal but so what.

Buy American.  Create jobs.

Simple. Isn’t it?

Guess what my fellow PIs? This means you too. Doesn’t it? We have power of the purse and the power to create jobs. So I’ve been thinking. What are we doing. Are you shifting your reagent buying to American sources? Thinking about maybe making an equipment purchase from an American company…even if you maybe didn’t absolutely need it? Or is it better to create a job right now? Hire a tech or domestic postdoc…even if you were really planning to spend the money on something more disposable?

Wait…are you fucking kidding me? I do science! My responsibility is the same as it always has been. To get the best science done for the cheapest price! My choices are dictated by the SCIENCE d00d! Don’t trouble me with this nonsense.

Guess what? That’s the position of EVERY business in this country. The job is to make profit, not to make sacrifices of the company under one’s direct control for the greater good boyo! Every household too- times are tight so why should I pay more for the American built toys for the rugrats when I can get cheaper stuff built elsewhere? Why should I give that domestic employee a few more bones a week-we’re suffering here!

Well, we elected a President who is telling us this is crap. That we’re in this together. How about it? What changes are you going to make in your PI role to help the situation? Me, I’m planning to create jobs.

§ One Response to but…but….science is different!

  • Great post, Bikemonkey, as were JP’s posts.
    I have always approached science this way.
    But I can also say that it is not as simple as creating jobs with what you have. For sustained growth, one needs greater resources.
    Also, as far as reagents, equipment etc I’d guess that the bulk of companies commonly used by scientists make substantial contributions to the American economy regardless of whether they are foreign-owned or not. But I do not know that—it will be interesting to see the data on how much of the NIH research dollar goes back into the American economy. Salaries mostly do, and that’s the bulk anyway.
    I’ll try and expand on this later.

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