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Science, Technology, and Government

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  6 reviews
In this brilliant monograph Rothbard deftly turns the tables on the supporters of big government and their mandate for control of research and development in all areas of the hard sciences. He begins with a fundamental question: how do we decide how much money to spend on research. The more we spend the less we have to spend on other things. The decision is best left to th ...more
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Ludwig von Mises Institute (first published 1959)
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May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the more persistent myths about big states is that they are scientific powerhouses. They may have a hungry population, rampant corruption, a weak economy and a military with long-outdated equipment, but when it comes to science, they're impeccable. Without them, scientific progress would stand still as corporations focused on small and risk free innovations while neglecting theory and basic research.

In this short, yet extremely informative booklet, Murray Rothbard buries this myth for goo
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, science
Rothbard says disagrees with government directing scientific research. However, I believe experience has proven him wrong. There is no discussion of NASA, which would be a glaring omission in any work of this subject. But this was written one year after the founding of NASA and 10 years before the moon landing. Would the moon landing have happened if it had been left to the free market? There is no mention of Operation Paperclip, which is something that would challenge his thesis, though that pr ...more
Daniel Moss
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, politics
In this book, Rothbard, who typically just tells the government to go kill themselves, I think makes a mistake by trying to be gracious and offer the government a way in which it can cooperate with the free market. One quick example of where I think he's ultimately wrong is the case where he says that government should never be in the production of military goods but rather the government should contract with private entities who can produce goods for the government. Although this might be bette ...more
Daniel Vasilev
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great analysis of the role of the free market for the provision of teachers and professors, on the one side, and the provision of scientific research and technological innovations, on the other. The arguments of Rothbard are backed by very good reasoning (he applies the method of economics to the field of science) and empirical proofs in the form of researches, books and the views of member of the scientific community (both academics and independent explorers).
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A little dated from a 70's publication. Focuses on cold war science/military funding. This is more minarchist than later ancap stuff from Rothbard, so there are some policy recommendations. A major recommendation is to move science to the free market, and have government only sent up contracts instead of directly funding science.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1950s
Its what you would expect if you've already read Rothbard. What most interested me here was the practical examples of how the state isn't actually as efficient at technology production and research as you might think. He gives a number of instances of bureaucracy or just poorly designed state institutions misapplying resources or just running bizarre arrangements to produce research which are clearly suboptimal.
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Murray Newton Rothbard was an influential American historian, natural law theorist and economist of the Austrian School who helped define modern libertarianism. Rothbard took the Austrian School's emphasis on spontaneous order and condemnation of central planning to an individualist anarchist conclusion, which he termed "anarcho-capitalism".