Vannever Bush on the control of scientists

Here’s Vannever Bush on the institutional desire to control scientists:

There is nothing more deadly than control of the activities of scientists and engineers by men who do not really understand, but think they do or must at least give others that impression, and the worst control of all is by individuals who have long been immersed in a particular subject and have made it static.

Perhaps NIST might consider this point as it tries  to “unleash” American “innovation.” Perhaps NIST should tweak Bayh-Dole regulations in favor of scientists rather than in favor of institutional controls. But no, NIST adds regulations against the authority of Bayh-Dole to force scientists to give up control of their inventions made with federal funds to bureaucrats–and not even government bureaucrats.

Oh, yes, the non-federal nonprofit bureaucrats made the argument that they were more effective bureaucrats in taking things from scientists than were the federal bureaucrats. They were bluffing, of course, and weren’t any better. But in politics bluffery is fact, as AUTM reminds us every day.

Lost in the debate–no doubt on purpose–was the idea that both kinds of bureaucrats suck when it comes to control of scientists.

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