Quote of the Day

"We Americans take these institutions for granted. We assume that private enterprise generates what is so casually called 'innovation' all by itself. It does not. The Web browser you [may be] using to read this essay was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The code that makes this page possible was invented at a publicly funded academic research center in Switzerland. That search engine you [may] use many times a day, Google, was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support Stanford University. [If you] didn't get polio in your youth [it was] because of research done in the early 1950s at Case Western Reserve. California wine is better because of the University of California at Davis. Hollywood movies are better because of UCLA. And [if your] milk was not spoiled this morning [it was] because of work done at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

"These things did not just happen because someone saw a market opportunity and investors and inventors rushed off to meet it. That's what happens in business-school textbooks. In the real world, we roll along, healthy and strong, in the richest nation in the world because some very wise people decided decades ago to invest in institutions that serve no obvious short-term purpose. The results of the work we do can take decades to matter—if at all. Most of what we do fails. Some succeeds. The system is terribly inefficient. And it's supposed to be that way."
Siva Vaidhyanathan, writing about the recent crisis at the University of Virginia, in which conservative business executives on the governing Board attempted to oust university president Teresa Sullivan.

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