In her article entitled “Corruption: Good governance powers innovation”, recently published in the Nature journal, the President of the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) explains that the lack of innovation and technological progress is not entirely caused by poverty (although this is an important factor), but also by corruption.
“Where advancement based on merit is the rule and favouritism the exception, governments and markets alike promote value, and prosperity results. In places where such a system fails to take hold, social allocation is directed preferentially rather than ethically. In these contexts, science and research are marginalized because those in power fear that talent threatens their main aim — controlling access to public and private resources.”
“Governments that buy political support do not invest much in education and research — the returns are seen as too general. A sports stadium or a new airport woos the companies chosen to build it (which may contribute to the next election campaign) and the many voters who use it. A thousand science scholarships are much less profitable in these terms — they cannot be awarded to cronies with no scientific aptitude.”
“That is why more-corrupt EU states spend more on big projects such as roads and high-speed trains than on health, research, education and development (see ‘Single bidding’). When — with the best of intentions — Brussels promotes austerity policies, which funds dry up first in corrupt countries? Investment in education and science.” explains Pippidi.
Read the full article here.
Illustrations by David Parkins/ Nature.