I've just learned that in the current financial year, bankers plan to award themselves bonuses of £7bn - more than twice the entire UK science budget (£3.2bn, before planned cuts). I thank my correspondent S. F. Of Stockholm for this link.
Now, far be it from me to decry the bonuses of bankers. I am sure they do a jolly good job, and are worth every zuz, sou and farthing. My point is that scientists also contribute a great deal to the UK economy. Science has given us medicines without which many of us, or those close to us, would have died long ago. Science has given us computers and phones and other means of communication that draw us all together. Bankers have given us credit swap derivatives and other arcana the understanding of which has been vouchsafed to only three people, one of whom is dead, another is mad, and a third who's been locked up in a bank vault in Geneva.
We are often told that if we penalise bankers they'll leave the country. Scientists, however, are being penalised, and are also leaving the country. Those who'd like to come into the country cannot do so, because the PhD stipend is apparently too low to get the number of 'points' immigrants now require (information broadcast by Mr Ben Goldacre at the Science Is Vital demo in London today).
So, do you feel lucky? Would you rather have a load of bankers whose misdeeds we are obliged to fund in our taxes? Or scientists whose labours make life worth living, and, ultimately, much cheaper and easier for everyone?
4 weeks ago