Many people believe that the state is necessary to fund scientific research, especially pure scientific research. In fact a common rebuttal statists make when I advocate anarchism is that we need the state to fund scientific research that isn’t likely to turn a profit. These people believe that private funding for scientific research only happens when the research is like to make a profit. Quite the opposite is true as Jack Horner, one of the most famous paleontologists in the world, explained during his interview on Slashdot:
How will science be funded in the US next?
For a long time the primary source of money for scientific research has been the federal granting agencies (NIH, NSF, DOE in particular). All three of them are facing either budget cuts, budget stalls, or increases in their budgets that do not match inflation. This does not seem to fare well for new scientists or established ones who are looking to further their careers. Where do you see research money coming from next? Alternately, are we looking ahead to a time where fewer people will be doing science because the funding just won’t exist to pay even their meager wages any more?
Horner: Like most researchers in the early part of their careers, I relied on writing grants to NSF, but as these government agencies became more stringent and stingy with funding for dinosaurs and other purely scientific endeavors, I moved away from government funding to private funding, and I think this is where most all research funds for dinosaurs will eventually come from. Private people who have the financial where-with-all and interest in the field currently fund most of the dinosaur collecting, research and exhibitions in the United States. It is up to us paleontologists to make sure we engage the public in all venues, and keep their interest high, if we expect to continue these kinds of studies. The government is much more interested in practical sciences (renewable energy, climate change, medical) these days, a trend I would expect to continue for quite some time.
When it comes to purely scientific research the state has little interest in providing funding. Instead scientists wanting to perform purely scientific research, such as paleontology, have to seek funding in the private sector. What many statists fail to realize is that there are people out there that have a deep interest in purely scientific research and are willing to donate money to its cause.