North Carolina Democrats want to dump public resources into stem cell research.
OK, so let’s just leave aside for a moment the ethical issues of researching stemcells for curing diseases like Parkinson’s. There is still a terrible problem in the idea that public money should go towards such research. There’s a little concept you might have learned in Econ 101. It’s called opportunity cost.
You see, there is a limited number of scientists. There are even fewer scientists capable of working on genetics, stemcells, or what have you. When the government subsidizes an subset of the industry (like medical science), scientists follow the money. But for every scientist you set to work on stemcell research, that’s one less scientist working on any number of other diseases. Private funding allows a better system of priority to emerge. Markets match the actual needs of patients with an array of live-saving tools and smart people. So when you hear people argue that limits to public funding for stemcells will cause people to die, they are wrong on net. In fact, the reverse may be true: other, perhaps more people could be saved if money (value) isn’t concentrated on a disease du jour. The government-funded stemcell scientist may have otherwise worked on something immanently more curable or technologically feasible. Bureaucrats can’t possibly make rational investments in such technology for us.
Should we stand by and let the NC government create an artificial market when there are health needs elsewhere that need addressing from these scientists? If you want to be a do-gooder, try a little Econ 101.