Friday, August 04, 2006

 

Dear Anonymous at WSJ

WSJ: The French government's appetite for venturing into business knows no bounds. Its newest foray is an Internet search engine called Quaero.

What is the problem? Is it the name of the project? As if the American government doesn't fund research which leads to business!

The Bayh-Dole Act includes four basic tenets, according to Allen: Government-funded research is owned by the university where it is performed; any royalties from patents are shared with inventors; use of the research is focused in the United States; and the government can use the research without having to pay royalties.

Since the act came into effect, Allen said, between 1980 and 2001 university patents have increased tenfold; 2,200 new companies have been started to develop new technologies based on patented research; 260,000 jobs have been created and about $40 billion of the United States economy have come from university research results.(source ohiou.edu)


Or consider the MIT Technology Licensing Office analysis:
"The Bayh-Dole Act is working precisely as intended, developing the fruits of government-funded research for the benefit of society," she said. "Economic development through exploitation of intellectual property is now widely considered one of the major benefits of federally sponsored research.

"Only government can make, for dozens of years, the patient investment in basic science needed for scientific discoveries. Only then can private business afford to take the considerable risk of licensing the patented discoveries and investing millions of dollars more to develop the technology into a device or medicine that will bring great benefits to society. This process generates new jobs, new companies, sometimes new industries and new wealth. Government then gets back its share through taxing that wealth," while the public benefits not only from the returned taxes, but from the new products, new companies and new jobs that result, Ms. Nelsen said in an interview Monday.


WSJ: Online, there's already Geoportail.fr, designed to compete with Google Earth, and Gallica, inspired by Google's library-indexing project. Both are financed by the French state.


Gallica is a service of the French National Library (which has been financed by the French state for a long time). It is inspired at least as much by Project Gutemberg, to which it furnishes scans of its public property texts. Who finances the Library of Congress? Is it inspired by Google's library-indexing project? Are we really to believe that only the silly French "waste" taxpayers' money to provide Internet access to public information resources?

WSJ: Google doesn't get a penny from any government, nor is it -- as far as we can tell -- part of a nefarious plot to rid the world of French culture.

The founders of Google didn't have government research grants while they were at Stanford? Are you sure? Not a penny of support went in to the creation of their ranking algorithm?

WSJ: If you don't like those pesky English-language results, you can eliminate them with a click of the mouse.


I know; and I particularly like setting the Google interface language to "Elmer Fudd" (BTW, do they have to pay Warner for the rights?)

WSJ: If European leaders really want to foster the next Google, they might consider cutting the high taxes and red tape that send students and entrepreneurs the world over running for the United States. Then again, that would make sense -- and wouldn't cost taxpayers a centime.


Seriously? First you classify "the planned 'European Institute of Technology,' funded by Brussels and intended to rival the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" a "French and European political vanity project"; mightn't it slow the braindrain? Now you claim that more students staying in Europe (or coming from elsewhere) wouldn't cost taxpayers a centime? Cut taxes on student income so they can pay more for their education and still come out ahead, maybe? But before we consider the economics and whatever else "send students and entrepreneurs the world over running for the United States", let's check the claim that they do. The OECD uses "share of foreign-born with tertiary attainment" to measure migration of the highly educated. I've ranked the U.S.A. and selected core European countries in the following table. The main observations:
In summary, there is not much to support the thesis that among OECD countries France is failing to attract and retain students and the highly educated; what do taxes and red tape have to do with it?



Foreign-born persons with tertiary attainment
as a percentage of the total number of residents with tertiary education
Countryimmigrants from other OECD countriesemigrants to other OECD countriesimmigrants less emigrants within OECD zoneimmigrants from the rest of the worldnet totalExpenditure per student in tertiary education: 2002
U.S.A. 4.25 0.701 3.549 9.166 12.715 20 545
France 4.209 4.425 -0.217 8.168 7.951 9 276
Spain 2.745 2.284 0.462 3.784 4.245 8 020
Germany 2.827 7.334 -4.507 8.562 4.056 10 999
Belgium 5.937 6.441 -0.504 4.187 3.684 12 019
United Kingdom 6.491 14.856 -8.365 9.372 1.008 11 822
Denmark 4.45 7.333 -2.883 3.176 0.293 15 183
Netherlands
3.326 8.933 -5.607 4.369 -1.238
13 101
Ireland 14.002 26.133 -12.131 4.038 -8.093 9 809


WSJ [Implied] I'm not saying who wrote this. I'll let you believe it is the concensus opinion of the Wall Street Journal.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.



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P.S.
Tertiary attainment for age group 25-64
Year: 2000 2001 2002 2003
U.S.A. 36.495 37.313 38.133 38.422
France 22.048 23.021 23.98 23.439
Spain 22.619 23.624 24.378 25.19
Germany 23.499 23.222 23.427 23.982
U. K. 25.671 26.097 26.861 27.989
Denmark 25.778 26.484 27.417 31.887
Ireland 21.838 23.661 25.398 26.308

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