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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts 315

Posted by timothy
from the labour-practices dept.
uid7306m writes "The UK government is planning an austerity budget, in the wake of the financial crisis and banking bailouts. This involves a 25% overall cut in the government budget, and the indications are that it will hit UK science and university budgets strongly. In response to this, a campaign has started that has managed to get scientists out of their labs and into the streets."
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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts

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  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:56AM (#33850820) Homepage Journal
    Actually in terms of debt-to-GDP ratio of the US is about the same as most European countries(and well below Japan which investors seem to think is an incredibly "safe" place to park money for whatever reason). Current account deficits are another story though.....
  • Re:what are you FOR? (Score:4, Informative)

    by cgomezr (1074699) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:13AM (#33850868)

    Why weren't you doing anything over the last decade while the government was intentionally building up a deficit?

    What? "Not doing anything?" They were doing their jobs. The scientists' job is to do science, the government's job is to take care of spending and deficit.

  • by xtracto (837672) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:51AM (#33851322) Journal

    The UK has always been a terrible place for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs trying to develop new technology.

    Wow... have you actually made science in a UK University/Institute or are you talking out of our ass?

    I made my PhD and graduated from a UK University (5 and my experience is completely the opposite. In my department, there was a complete freedom on what researchers wanted to do.

    In addition, funds where available without any trouble and in my case (self-funded by my government) I even had the chance to participate in a research project with other 2 universities and other 3 industry partners (actually, I always thought that it would be better if the Universities focused on more applied research... because the industrial partners were not interested in the theory we were researching).

    In comparison to say, Mexico (where I am from) or Germany (where I am currently doing a Post-Doc) I can tell you that doing research in the UK was a complete pleasure. As researchers we had EVERYTHING at our fingertips (eg., huge library, or access to scopus.com and ANY periodical or proceeding I wanted).

    I hurts me reading this news, as even though I know some people (back in Mexico) who does science with very restricted means; I appreciate the possibilities opened by having enough resources.

  • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @10:03AM (#33851676) Homepage

    Military budgets are being cut too. Even worse than science ones.

    Do we like it or not, but the Labour government has been living on credit for 12 years with no intention of paying it back. This is a fact. The average pay in the non-productive government sector has increased above the average private sector pay. More than 700000 jobs were created in various quasi independent non governement organisations. In the area where I live they went from virtually zero in 2000 to a point where they are close to taking 30%+ of the available office space.

    We will now have to work like slaves paying that debt off. The current government is not in the position which Thatcher was. Thatcher had lots of stuff to privatise and raise cash for restructuring and fixing the economy - housing, railways, energy generation and distribution, manufacturing, mining, etc. That is no longer an option. There is nothing left to sell.

    All has been sold and eaten. So 25% cut in the science budget is nowhere near what other stuff is being cut. There are areas where the cuts are above 40%.

  • by RDW (41497) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:05PM (#33853232)

    'How much do you think raising taxes on the rich will net you? Have a wild guess. Then take a look at the Laffer curve'

    Ah yes, the Laffer curve, favourite graph of right-wing administrations who want to give their backers a tax break since the Reagan years, and Glenn Beck:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201002090041 [mediamatters.org]

    Not everyone is quite as impressed, however. JK Galbraith:

    'It is not clear that anyone of sober mentality took Professor Laffer's curve and conclusions seriously. He must have credit, nonetheless, for showing that justifying contrivance, however transparent, could be of high practical service. The tax reduction in the 1980's was, in no slight measure, the product of the Laffer construct. Professor Laffer was not without criticism from professional colleagues, but this in no way detracts from the able service he rendered his constituency.'

    But I guess you'd take it as an article of faith that we're on the right side of the curve, and definitely not the left?

    'Do you really expect them to continue funding all of the previous government's little fetishes?'

    No, of course not - e.g., you could fairly class the ID card scheme (good riddance) as a 'fetish' that deserved to go. But right now we're talking about plans for one of the most savage programmes of cuts in history, which apart from anything else might push us over into a 'double dip' recession. Even the Daily Mail is getting nervous:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1318726/Double-dip-warning-growth-slides-Real-risk-economy-weaken-further.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    'Those same markets comprised ~12% of British GDP during the boom, the taxation of which was spent by the Labour government on innumerable little projects that you insist should not be cut today.'

    I didn't say that, either. Plenty of 'little projects' are going to have to be cut, some deservedly.

    'You're a friend of the financial markets when it suits you, because presumably you approved of this spending.'

    I don't approve of the behaviour of the tobacco industry, either, but if it exists it should be taxed.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:15PM (#33854800)
    The Laffer curve is a complete farce [nytimes.com]. As in, it doesn't work, period, zip, zilch, nadda. In the link is a graph to U.S. federal government revenue just before and just after the Bush tax cut. As you can see, there is a tremendous dent in revenue as a percent of GDP in 2001 continuing to 2003. These are the Bush Tax Cuts [wikipedia.org]. On that chart, revenue never recovered to its pre-tax cut level. One often hears the argument that these tax cuts pay for themselves after longer amount of time, but what happened after 2007? The economy collapsed. One sees the same thing under the Reagan tax cuts, revenue does eventually recover from a tax cut, but never surpasses the pre-tax cut trend. So, Laffer was full of it. Maybe it would work if the income tax rate was 90%, but probably only then by coincidence because people would just find ways to avoid paying taxes more often rather than having a disincentive to make more money.
  • by vakuona (788200) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:29PM (#33855436)
    Conceptually, the Laffer curve is a sound theory. Practically, it is really difficult to know where you are on the curve. So you basically don't know if higher or lower tax rates will increase revenue. After the tax cuts reduced revenue, the right response may have been to increase the tax rates to increase revenue.

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