Henry Bourne's Five Axioms for Mediocracy and Disaster

Henry Bourne's Five Axioms for Mediocracy and Disaster

Any scientist, who acknowledges that an economic depression started in 2008 and is still not unfinished, is definitely worth reading. In a thought- provoking article, UCSF professor Henry Bourne presents five steps, through which the depression can be turned into a bigger disaster.

Axiom 1. We must support big science, or in his word - “bigger is always better”

Axiom 2. You are right, but the system is too hard to change - “top-down always wins”

Axiom 3. Private philanthropists want to see their names on the building, or otherwise they will not give us money - “the philanthropist is always right”

Axiom 4. “only active researchers can teach science to medical students”

Axiom 5. Hire more post-docs - “trainees equal laboratory workforce”

You can read the details in his article, and they rhyme well with our forecasts of what is going to happen.

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Wise people are hard to come by and less so in the academia. So, we must agree with the person in this webpage - Henry Bourne, you rock !!



Readers are encouraged to read Henry Bourne’s previous articles - The Writing on the Wall

The postdoc holding tank (TRR-VI) - Uncovering the biggest bulge under that rug

They are very thought-provoking in highlighting the problems. However, the solution to central-planning cannot be more central-planning, unlike what Dr. Bourne suggested.

Maybe he needs to read couple of our old commentaries -

Government is the Mother of All Invention

DORA Pledge YASI from Government-funded Scientists

Why won’t Dr. Bourne’s suggestions work? It is because central planning, unless stopped at an early stage, leads to bankruptcy (the ‘writing on the wall’). People supported by central planning are always slow to adapt, and that is a feature not bug.

Spain’s Research Council Approaches Bankruptcy

The Spanish National Research Council, Spain’s flagship research agency, has run massive deficits for several years. If the governmentwhich has made drastic cuts in research funding the past few yearsdoesn’t pick up the tab, it may go into bankruptcy before the year is over.

Written by M. //