Economist Mariana Mazzucato says that the great human achievements of the modern era have occurred when “the government takes over, invests in, and leads innovation processes. When the private and social sector calls for profound and inspiring transformations” (Mission Economy, 2021).
For example, the development of the most effective vaccine against COVID-19 would not have been possible without the cooperation between governments, businesses, and society; Without public investment and without trust in the private sector. In science, collaboration and trust are key concepts, they save lives and solve complex problems (malignant problems).
I talk about this because, in the recently introduced Common Law Initiative on Humanities, Science, Technologies and Innovation, there is no collaboration and trust. More than calling and inspiring to solve major national problems, what the initiative promotes is exclusion, division and conflict.
There is no place for a more complete analysis, but I leave out five problematic elements:
1. Contrary to the development of science – and the scientific method – the initiative does not recognize any progress in the past thirty years. As if “truth” and science were discovered in 2018;
2 – It is not a democratic and inclusive practice, since the proposals of the academic and scientific community have not been taken into account;
3. centralizing decisions in the federal government, and abolishing the autonomy and academic freedom that public research centers once enjoyed; There is no science without freedom or chance. We forget that scientific development is not compulsory, but rather promoted;
4. It is discriminatory because it excludes private universities and their researchers from all public programmes. Don’t forget that 35% of the national university fees are covered by private institutions;
5. It highlights uncertainty in the budget. The federal government focuses on power, but does not have the responsibility to fund science;
In addition, the initiative confuses “a state” with “a government in power.” The desire for critical dialogue and improvement of this law is sorely needed. Development depends on science.