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niki's avatar

Why Scientists and real Thinkers got paid very low in this capitalism system?

Asked by niki (714points) November 18th, 2011

Do you think this is true in our today’s capitalism system?
that the ones who are rich tend to be the most corrupt, greedy, selfish people are the ones who reap the most rewards and at the top of the system,
whereas honest, good Thinkers and Scientists who can usually truly bring real progress to the humanity & the civilization are often the ones who got hurt (paid less) the most in today’s system?
Why is this?
And what is the solution then?

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47 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

How much do you think scientists get paid? How much do you think they should get paid?

Blackberry's avatar

It depends on who they work for lol. Some work for the capitalists.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No doubt that Scientists are always good Thinkers…

No doubt that Rich Folk are always corrupt, greedy, and selfish…

A fine analysis.

inunsure's avatar

My housemate who is a researcher for Imperial college London gets paid around 13,000 a year so I agree they don’t get paid a huge amount but he enjoys it.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Some scientists get paid very well, others get paid next to nothing. The thing is science isn’t about money – well it shouldn’t be – it’s about science and that isn’t always profitable.

Science is an expense, possibly the most worthwhile expense there is, but it’s still an expense. Much of what comes out of science can only be used for more science. Productizing the findings of science successfully isn’t always easy, guaranteed, or obvious – it can also take a lot of money on which no return may ever be made. And it frequently involves several things coming together rather than a single piece of research.

Could the system be better, of course it could probably be much better, but so long as it encourages research and provides those with the interest the means to carry it out I don’t know that it’s worth mucking with, at least at that end. And personally, I don’t want scientists motivated by money. I want them motivated by hypothesis, theory, and evidence.

ragingloli's avatar

The system tends to reward the exploiters, because they are the one the consumer interacts with and who set the prices.
Same reason the child slaves in china get paid next to nothing while the corporations that “employ” (own) them reap all the profits.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It depends where the scientist is working and what they’re doing. Acording to google a research scientist at Pfizer will be earning about £50,000. Post-doc researcher will be in the range £20—£40,000. (Amusingly statisticians can get paid in the range of £50–90k – I’m not sure what that says about pharma research but there you go).
Scientists working in academia wont be earning that much but will have much more freedom in what they study.

gailcalled's avatar

How would you define a “real thinker.”

What does the scientist do?

Teach, do research, write textbooks, columns, newspaper articles, build stuff, hang around the lab, produce popularized TV shows, work in university, private industry, NGO’s or think tanks?

(Note that “scientists and “real thinker” are not proper nouns.)

cazzie's avatar

Even Leonardo had to build war machines so he could pay his bills and make a living.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@cazzie I thought Leonardo paid the bills painting stuff.

YoBob's avatar

I know several scientists who get paid very well by their corporate employers, I also know some scientists who have made a boat load in the private sector by marketing the product of their labor on their own.

On the other hand, I know some scientists/thinkers who get paid diddly and I know some inventors (myself included) who do not posses the marketing know how to capitalize on their ideas.

I hardly think that one can draw any conclusions about scientists being kept down by their evil capitalistic overlords.

YoBob's avatar

@Lightlyseared – Lenardo painted as a past time and did work for the church to keep in their good graces (for the church of the time had had a nasty habit of calling men of science heretics). He made most of his living designing weaponry.

Jaxk's avatar

Get rid of all the rich people, they’re evil anyway. That will solve your problem.

JLeslie's avatar

Scientists who do it on their own can patent their ideas. The ones who work for large companies, the company gets the patent. The patent is where the money is. Selling the discovery. It does seem that scientists might be more likely to not focus on the money, but the research itself, their desire to solve whatever interests them, and more liberal minded in wanting to share their discovery with the world. Their focus is to change the world, improve lives, the businessman’s focus is to make money. As an aside this is the problem with the American health system, doctors are now businessmen in much of the country. At the best institutes, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, they are salaried, not paid based on workload and procedures.

It’s unfortunate the health sciences are so profit oriented. Profit in the future helps fund research now, but then it gets twisted in the end. Take the breast cancer gene testing. It is very expensive. Only one company does it, because they own the right to it. Most insurance will not cover the testing, and for many it is too expensive.

When the vaccine for polio was proven effective, the researcher who created it, Jonas Salk, did not want to profit from it, he wanted the world to be safe from polio.

At the same time it is worth mentioning that the majority of wealthy people work very hard for what they have earned. Most studied at well respected, difficult schools; focused on their jobs and earning money while sacrificing other parts of the their lives; it’s not like they do nothing and money fell into their pockets. Some wealthy people care very much about the people they employ and society at large. Every level of income has its good people and bad.

flutherother's avatar

A healthy society should contain more than just money and people scrabbling to get it but that is how the capitalist system works. Scientists and thinkers enjoy what they do. It wasn’t the profit motive that encouraged Einstein to develop his theories of relativity; he did it because he loved to think. While he was developing his theories they had no value for him in monetary terms. His source of income was a humdrum job in a patent office. How could anyone put a price on his thoughts at that time? No one else knew or could understand what he was doing. It is the same with writers and artists and philosophers. They are out there on their own doing what they love to do, which usually isn’t making money.

cazzie's avatar

@YoBob thanks for backing me with the Leonardo thing. I’m old. I remember these things. and I’m writing a story about medieval/renaissance Italy… so I sort of read up on this stuff.

Nullo's avatar

Many researchers draw their paychecks (with varying degrees of directness) from grants. The diabetes investigators at the Washington University School of Medicine get some very juicy grants indeed, from the National Institutes of Health. The amount of money in the grant increases with the desirability of the projected outcome.
There is a financial element to it; Wash. U. employs a lot of foreign scientists, who will work for lower wages than domestic ones of the same caliber.

RocketGuy's avatar

Scientists are busy doing sciencey things. Capitalists are busy bringing $$ in, then they keep a lot of it. Sad the $ can’t be spread around better.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

Do you want science to be a highly profitable endeavor? Do you think science and philosophy should attract profit-seekers instead of those we might consider purists?

cazzie's avatar

I just listened to Science Friday on NPR. Stem cell research was completely stunted by politics. I think that topic is a good example of people with too much control over money having not enough brains and the people with the brains simply not getting the money to solve a problem.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie Stem cell research (embryonic stem cell research, at least) introduces ethical controversies, as it dabbles with issues like human cloning and (loosely) abortion. It became political because, in the U.S., at least, And ethics, like everything else, feeds more or less directly into politics.

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo the reason it became a political problem was they (the politicians) were ignorant and used it as a point scoring exercise. The fact that you link stem cell research immediately to ethical problems such as cloning and abortion means they did a good job lying to the public.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo The scientists still aren’t making a fortune people in academia rarely do, although they are probably making a comfy salary. Part of the grant money goes to the study itself, paying participants, or paying for tests that need to be done during the study, supplies, medical equipment, etc. The system is not perfect. Some money is wasted I’m sure, but my dad used to be the guy giving grants to universities and they really did go over everything, make sure the parameters met scientific method standards, etc.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I really don’t care how much they make. And I am familiar with the grant distribution.

@cazzie In point of fact, I arrived at the abortion thing on my own. It wasn’t that hard, really. They are stem cells cultivated from embryos, which were obtained via a process that’s effectively an equivalent to abortion. Yes, I know that the body sometimes does that on its own. No, that doesn’t mean that we should, too. Using the unborn like that is sickening.
And they did the human cloning too. So I don’t think that you’re holding much water over there.

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo You are right. Stem cells are present in aborted fetuses. That is what most people conclude the scientists are using, but it’s not the case. Of course that is sickening. What happened, though is that the legislation stopped ALL stem cell research from all sources (and there were several, including cordblood). I think it is still a valid case of what the money having-ignorant do to the scientists trying to carry out actual research.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Stem cells are not aborted fetuses. They are embryos created outside of the body. To say they are aborted is to imply they were removed from the woman, and this is why many people against stem cell research are under the false impression the cells are taken from abortions. Indeed, if someone believes life begins at conception, and any interruption in allowing the embryo grow is a death of the embryo, then I can see how people equate it to abortion, but it is not an abortion. This is why the Catholic church is against IVF, makes perfect sense to me, they understand that embryos created might be frozen indefinitely, let alone destroyed or given to scientist. Just the freezing process can destroy the embryos, even though the science in that area is very good. If someone believes life begins at conception, I don’t see how they can be ok with IVF. In the IVF process almost never are all embryos put into the mother. Most cycles produce an average of 8 embryos I think, only 2 or 3 are put back into the woman, the rest either die or get frozen.

cazzie's avatar

Stem cells don’t just come from embryos… hey. OK? There is a difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Please read some articles on the subject before you make such blanketed assumptions. The problem came from the request to use discarded IVF samples. They were going to be destroyed. How could using them be any different from say… organ donation? For another thread, I’m sure. But still… not my point. I’m saying the baby was tossed out with the bathwater out of ignorance. That’s all.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I know stem cells don’t just come from embryos, but embryonic stem cells, which are the big controversy in the states, do.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Nikipedia gave a good scientific answer on an old Q of mine:

Let me speak a little bit more about the science behind this.

Inducing pluripotency in cells does not produce pluripotent cells that are identical to the ones derived from embryonic stem cells. It’s kind of like the difference between a heart and a pacemaker: they’re capable of performing the same function, but they’re not the same thing. And we don’t know all the ways these cells are different (yet).

The first time pluripotent cells were created, scientists took skin cells and used retroviruses to manipulate four genes to get them to return to a state of pluripotency. Unfortunately, one of the genes they manipulated was one that is often used to make normal cells into cancer cells. So if you tried to use these induced pluripotent cells, they would very often cause cancer. Not such a great side-effect, huh?

Since that initial breakthrough, scientists have been working to find a way to get around this problem by using recombinent proteins and by using adenoviruses. The adenoviruses appear to be able to circumvent the cancer problem, but are 1/100th as efficient as the other viral transfection agents. Also, this has only been accomplished in mouse cells, so far—no human cells have been returned to pluripotency using these methods (yet).

So the reasons scientists would still like to be able to use embryonic stem cells are because:

1. They are better. They are the real deal. They don’t have side-effects like causing cancer, or other side-effects that we don’t even know about yet that could impact the outcome of studies that use induced pluripotent cells.
2. They are cheaper. Scientists have to pay for this kind of research by asking the government and private companies for money. If you can’t raise enough money, you can’t do your experiments. (And this is not about scientists getting rich—they don’t get to keep the leftover money.)
3. They are more efficient. If you are using Technique A, and your buddy down the hall uses Technique B which is 100x faster, guess which one of you is going to be the first to use these cells to cure a disease?

So to answer the initial question: I am unequivocally in favor of using discarded embryonic stem cells for research as I see no ethical issues with it whatsoever, and as such I have no ethical problems with using any treatments that may eventually be derived from research using them.

JLeslie's avatar

Or, I guess maybe my mistake that people are talking about stem cells and not embryonic stem cells here. My apologies. Anyway, I do know the difference.

cazzie's avatar

That is the problem…most people don’t and you have both proved my point for me. Thank you.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie How did I prove your point? That I wrongly assumed we were talking about embryonic stem cells? That doesn’t mean I don’t know the difference. I once told a cousin to make sure she put lotion on before sunbathing, and used lotion, not suntan lotion. It was just a miscommunication of using a term, where the assumption was wromg about the meaning given by the sender or receiver.

What did I say above that was untrue about embryionic stem cells?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie @cazzie The fact remains that embryonic stem cell research uses human embryos. And I said ‘embryo’ and not ‘fetus’. I envisioned a different mechanism, but these are nevertheless humans who will never be allowed to develop. I side with the Catholics when it comes to IVF.
I am both aware of and (so far) have no ethical qualms regarding non-embryonic stem cells.
@cazzie You might occasionally assume that I know a little about what I’m talking about. A smidge of the ol’ benefit-of-doubt would be appreciated; I do not go out of my way to be ignorant.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Do you agree the word abortion for embryonic cells conjures up the wrong picture for those who don’t know much about the science? It bothers me when people have misinformation, and I think the Christian right likes that to happen if they get their way in the end. This is why so many accuse the Republicans of keeping their people stupid. I am not saying you are stupid, and you see that I am ok with the logic the Catholics use, most Evangelicals are just fine with making babies from IVF.

If I remember correctly on the Q I linked that happened. One of our Christian jellies didn’t understand the cells were from embryos that would be discarded, and when she did she actually was ok with it. She changed her mind on the Q from what I remember.

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo you may side with the Catholics but I don’t think the US government should have a right to.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie If I understood the legislation during Bush correctly, he did not limit research on embryonic stem cells, he limited public funds associated with the research. Which in turn slows down research. But, it was not illegal in the US for private companies to use more than the existing cell lines Bush had approved.

I don’t think it is simple as not mixing religion and government. There are ethical questions regarding these issues outside of religion.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie That is what my original point is. But I’m saying the ethics were muddied because of the ignorance of the subject. They didn’t just stop embryonic stem cells, they stopped all stem cell work.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I had not known that. Where had you read or heard that it slowed all research? The embryonic stem cells seem to be so much more promising, that I actually prefer the money not be spent on the less promising research. Except that, if adult stem cells can be used, it would be amazing. So simple for us to give up some cells for ourselves.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie that was my original post and point, but I guess it was easier for @Nullo to jump all over a hot topic then read and listen to what I was saying… which is why I lost my temper a bit.

But I do find it hypocritical of a person to be for organ donation, but not the donation of stem cells that are going to be discarded.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Yes, I can see your logic there. If the Catholics had their way (not the average Catholic obviously, I am talking if the Pope were king of the world) IVF would not be done at all. There would not be embryos being discarded. I think for people who believe life begins at conception, there is a big difference to them between an organ, and what they think of as a whole human being, even if it is just in the embryonic stage. Ironically, from what I understand, the Catholic church separates the birth of the soul from the physical being I think? This is how they argue for the science of evolution. That physically humans evolved, but the human soul is not something that evolved, it just is. I am not well versed on the topic though.

I think some argue the slippery slope theory, that women will get paid to donate eggs for research.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I agree that ‘abortion’ is not the correct term. The Christian Right of my acquaintance does its best (insofar as a bunch of people can, at least) to pass around accurate information.—I suspect that, since it lacks any kind of internal structure or centralized communication system, the data is grapevined, with subsequent corruptions.

@cazzie It isn’t wrong for a government – especially a government that’s supposed to be representing The People (most of whom profess some kind of Christianity) to share a view with the Church, even if you go in for full SOCAS. Laws derive from morals, and everybody’s got morals of some sort. Think of it as the Catholics and the Gub’mint finding themselves on the same side of an issue rather than one dictating policy for the other.
Look at me, I’m about as far as you can get from being Catholic without using a completely different text (to the point where I question the salvation of everybody involved) and I still side with them in places.
@JLeslie nails it nicely: we don’t think of the unborn as an organ, but as a particularly helpless individual. Unless you were likening the stem cells to organs? Profiting from a bad situation that Science has created just seems monstrous. but I guess that’s how Science works.
I suppose that my original intention in responding to your post was to suggest that the stunting was a good thing.

Paradox25's avatar

The way you asked this question makes it difficult for me to answer it. I’m not sure what you are asking. I don’t think that freethinkers get nailed or screwed necessarily because of an economic system alone. I do believe that brilliant people can get exploited for other reasons than just not being business savy such as in an aristocratic government. Aristocracies are not synonymous to either capitalism or socialism. Don’t underestimate the power of special interests either.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because they have what they need and don’t need what they don’t have. For scientists it’s more important to understand the universe than wasting time worrying about the color of a third yacht.

Paradox25's avatar

Outside of reasons related to religious (and other forms of) obscurantism I can agree with that. It all comes down to one’s interests and passions. A scientist’s passion is usually much different than that of a businessperson’s or politician’s, but the latter usually calls the shots because of their very own passions; money and power.

niki's avatar

thanks for all the answers. appreciate them much.
But then the question is: does this mean that people who contribute the most in society (ie: scientists & thinkers) are NOT getting rewarded ‘enough’, while those people who’re only motivated by making money (ie: capitalists, businessmen, and even those financial scammers!) are the ones who got rewarded the most, usually by money?
isn’t that unfair?
and doesn’t that mean there’s definitely something wrong with the (current) Monetary system we’re having right now?
if yes, then, what to do as for the solution?

GracieT's avatar

I agree with the assumption that there is something VERY wrong with the system. As a Christian, I believe that Christianity is the solution, but I’m also of the opinion that it is partially the fault of many Christian organizations that we got this way. Something that many Christians often forget is that not everyone is Christian and not everyone agrees with us. I am also in support of any other group that helps to make things better.

niki's avatar

@GracieT : while I do appreciate your comment, but I do think that it’s not so much of the religion problems as the System itself, ie: the monetary system.
The fall of U.S & Europe financial crisis (and soon, perhaps the world’s economic collapse, in 2012) have somewhat really proved about this.

I think people often only look at the ‘good’ sides of the money system, but overlooking (or even neglecting) many ‘bad’ sides, in fact perhaps much more than the ‘good/positive’ of the money system! that is IMHO where lies the main problem of all the constant debates & misunderstandings.
People need to seriously look at the Bigger Picture of things, to be very objective, of what Money (system) also caused to humanity.

Out of curiosity, have any of you here ever heard of: Resource Based Economy (RBE), Venus Project, Zeitgeist, and/or Paradism? try google them. They’re all might be different names, but essentially share the same (or very similar) philosophy & value, and the main thing is: to get away from the current Monetary system (and it’s NOT even about communism, if you study deeper about them).
These might actually be the solution to many of humanity’s current interlinked & complex problems. Once again, it’s the System.

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