Scientific research should be carried out and controlled by the governments rather than private companies. Do you agree or disagree?
At present, scientific research across the world is carried out and controlled sometimes by governments, sometimes by private companies. While there are some arguments in favour of scientific research by corporations, I agree with the view that this should be funded and supervised by the state. The private sector argues that it is willing to undertake scientific research, but there are two significant dangers in this. In terms of the quality and objectivity of the research itself, corporations which carry this out may be tempted to manipulate results in order to maximize profits. There have been numerous scandals as a result of new products being introduced hurriedly after inadequate trials. For example thalidomide, developed by a German drug company, resulted in the birth of thousands of malformed children. From an ethical perspective, leaving research into areas such as genetic engineering in the hands of corporations may have profound social consequences –such as GM crops, with unproven effects which may destroy whole ecosystems as a result of meddling with nature. Although governments have to allocate resources to many areas of public spending, it is essential that they be responsible for scientific research. Firstly, the highest standards can be set by providing funding for university departments to carry out high-quality research designed to benefit society, not to break into new markets or to gain a competitive edge. Knowledge thus gained can be shared worldwide throughout the academic community. Secondly, government-decision making is the best way to prioritize expenditure on specific areas of research, taking into consideration the needs of society, both present and future. One example is the development of renewable energy to meet growing demands. In conclusion, I agree strongly with the view that governments should bear sole responsibility for scientific research.