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The Lack of Scientific Philanthropy In Japan

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-science-for-you dept.

Japan 107

ananyo writes "The University of Tokyo this week will unveil Japan's first institute named after a foreign donor: the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe. The announcement adds Norwegian philanthropist Fred Kavli's name, along with a US$7.5-million endowment, to one of Japan's most successful institutes. The new center marks a turning point for Japan: to date, the country's universities and research institutes have long had to make do with few philanthropic donations. Strict laws governing university finances, and the lack of a philanthropic tradition, have discouraged the gifts that serve Western institutions so well. To get around the laws, instead of handing the endowment over to the institute, the Kavli Foundation will continue to manage the sum, giving the institute the return on the funds."

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Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (-1, Flamebait)

o'reor (581921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978835)

Maybe we shoud ask the whales. Some philanthropists are ready to pay a stiff price for so-called "scientific" whale fishing, the results of which they are happy to have on their plates.

Science is always a good excuse to make despicable things acceptable.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978905)

And what is actually wrong with whaling?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978973)

What's wrong with eating monkeys?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978987)

Nothing! And your point was?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978999)

Eat monkeys not whales.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981285)

Agreed. After all, if we eat all the whales we'll have nothing left to nuke.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979851)

Chilled Monkey Brains - You can get a few fatal diseases from eating the brains and nerve tissue, and from a lot of animals too. So chilled monkey brains is off the menu.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38982215)

Not if you Gamma irradiate it, that kills off all the pathogens, not sure about malfolded proteins....

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38982491)

Heston's Gamma irradiate chilled monkey brains. MMMmmm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heston_Blumenthal

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38983283)

Is that a bad thing?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979369)

The fact that it was, previously, unsustainable, pushing many species to the verge of extinction.

So the international community realised that's a bad thing, because if said species go extinct, entire ecosystems dependent on those species go extinct, less food in the ocean for everyone, loss of species of scientific significance, we're all worse off. As such the international community decided to stop, limiting it to sustainable levels where possible, banning it completely in the case of species that had been hunted to the point of extinction so that they could recover.

The problem is Japan, and a tiny handful of other countries (i.e. Iceland) think they're fucking special and somehow have a right to carry on whaling when everyone else has stopped/drastically cut down. If every country acted like Japan and just said "fuck it" then there'd be no whales left.

So that's what's wrong with it, it's fucking selfish, it's no more culturally significant to Japan than many other countries that have stopped, so their claims of having some special cultural heritage to protect that no one else does are frankly a load of bollocks. It's like being in a swimming pool, and some selfish fuck ruining it for everyone by peeing in the pool when everyone else recognises that's not a reasonable thing to do. Japan is that selfish fuck.

No one is saying all whaling should be banned no matter what, or anything quite to that extent (well, some crazy environmentalists might, but they're not the ones at the debating table) just that it should be sustainable, and that it should be sustainable for everybody, not just the twats who think they're special and the rules don't apply to them such that they believe they can hog some shared resource all to themselves leaving none for anyone else.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (3, Insightful)

chitokutai (758566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979845)

Their current whaling program is sustainable, and the rules they abide by are set up by the IWC. Isn't that exactly what you are arguing for? Sustainable whaling? I'm not sure how you can jump from that position to then calling Japan 'fucking selfish'.

The problem is that non-whaling countries absolutely do want to see whaling come to a permanent end. Sustainable whaling was never going to be on the bargaining table, and as a result Japan has to take advantage of loopholes to continue its whaling program.

So which is it? Sustainable whaling for all countries, or not?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980233)

I personally wish all the countries would go for sustainable _fishing_. The current fishing industry is nearly completely broken.

Practically all the scientists asked about it know what order of magnitude the fishing quotas should be, but they are always set higher for political reasons.

Then there's the huge bycatch problem.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980757)

Yes, the oceans are completely mismanaged in general, whales are only part of that, but they are an important part - they're a major factor in ocean ecosystems. Since 1900 we've seen a decline in whale populations on the order of 90% for species such as fin whales, which of course has a major impact on the other species that are linked to them.

But if we have problems even getting agreement on whales where countries like Japan unilaterally do their own thing and screw much of the rest of the world on it, then you can begin to see why controls on fishing in general are even harder again to achieve. Countries that would like better fisheries management in principle are saying to themselves what's the point in throwing away a food source and an industry that brings jobs and contributes to the economy when all it means is that selfish countries like Japan will continue to ignore the international rules anyway?

Even within the EU, where countries generally agree to work together towards EU wide rules quite succesfully the negotiations on catch limits and such are far from smooth and often end in failure.

Things like this only work when absolutely everyone agrees, and it only takes one or two selfish countries to screw it for the rest of us, because at that point the responsible countries have given up something, but with nothing to show for it because the irresponsible countries have picked up the slack. It's the same with things like nuclear weapons treaties, and MAD - it all only works if you can be sure every country is willing to adhere to those principles, if you have one crazy fuck who isn't then it creates risk for everyone.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38983465)

The thing is even countries do not want to enforce sane quotas within their own territorial waters, even when they know their own fish stocks might vanish.

You can enforce stuff in your own waters - that's what your navy is for, and even then many countries are unwilling to have those quotas - so that their fishermen can fish themselves out of a job and crash their own industry? It's crazy.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980559)

No, you're completely missing the point, even if Japan's catch is sustainable (it's quite arguably not for some species) why should whaling be limited to Japan?

The point is that other countries want to have a whaling industry too to provide food and income, but they understand they can't because it's unsustainable when everyone does it in an uncontrolled manner, so they practice restraint and choose not to. Japan however sees itself as special and doesn't see why it should have to practice restraint like everyone else, and so just selfishly goes out and maintains a whaling industry unilaterally.

Imagine that in 50 years time, we reach a point where there's fuck all oil left in the world and we're running renewables for power, but oil is still useful for production of a few important things that we haven't replaced, so the international community decides that we'll just keep the remaining oil wells for production of that essential product. Imagine then that one country says, you know what? fuck the international agreement, we'll just continue burning the remaining oil off for fuel because we're too lazy to change. That's what Japan's doing regards to whaling - it's decided it's needs are more important than those of any other country and hence the rules shouldn't apply to it. Essentially all IWC members could do what Japan does and cheat the system by claiming scientific whaling despite doing no science on said whales and instead just selling off the meat, but then there'd be no whales left for anyone to catch, and again, dependent ecosystems would also collapse.

The only reason there's a push for an outright ban on hunting some species is because said species are at risk, and because they're species which will take decades to replenish their numbers to more natural levels. No one's saying it has to be permanent, but for the forseeable future it's the only measure that will protect some species.

So yes, it's sustainable whaling for all countries - don't try and pretend anything I've said suggests otherwise. It doesn't, but the "all countries" part is key, and it means "Everyone - not just Japan, Iceland, Norway".

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38982727)

Well, some whales like mink have rebounded to the extent that they threaten the survival of the more slowly reproducing species. Yet when Norway uses hard date on this issue to show why their whaling quotas are reasonable they still get branded as evil fuckers by the anti-whaling community.

Most pro-whale people do ignore Norway these days, though that is more due to the declining whaling fleet in that country. Where am I going with this?.. Well, as I'm a Norwegian guy living in Japan, I can give a proposal on how to save the diveristy of whale species.

First you have to abandon the idea that some species are allowed to be eaten while others are not, cause some people eat things you don't eat, vice versa. Second, not all whales are created equal; if blue whales are like elephants then mink whales are like rats. Leaving everything as it is after we destroyed the balance means that some species might not survive. Also, the Japanese are experts at working around systems (very similar to russians), so to get something that works it has to acctually be sensible. (which a moratorium on all whaling isn't)

So drop the extreme positions of no whaling versus whaling to extinction, and instead open up for quotas of the more prolificate species. Whale meat isn't a staple food in Japan, so if you can keep them away from the endangered species like blue whale they'll accept that as long as mink, etc, are on the menu.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991917)

The point is that other countries want to have a whaling industry too to provide food and income, but they understand they can't because it's unsustainable when everyone does it in an uncontrolled manner, so they practice restraint and choose not to.

Bullshit, do you really believe this? Do you think if you opened a whale restaurant in New York it would be raking in the cash or just be flooded with protesters. If there was real money to be made, there are plenty of corrupt people who would be willing to do it.

Imagine that in 50 years time, we reach a point where there's fuck all oil left in the world and we're running renewables for power, but oil is still useful for production of a few important things that we haven't replaced, so the international community decides that we'll just keep the remaining oil wells for production of that essential product. Imagine then that one country says, you know what? fuck the international agreement, we'll just continue burning the remaining oil off for fuel because we're too lazy to change.

Do you live in a world of first in, best dressed? The countries likely to continue using oil are the ones that don't have the technology to use alternatives. So modern countries get the benefits of relatively cheap oil, then use it all up and then decide other countries can no longer use it. Though, in reality, if oil was scarce it would be valuable and the countries with oil could just sell it and get rich.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

chitokutai (758566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992171)

This is ridiculous logic. It's limited to Japan because Japan is one of the few countries that wanted to continue whaling and still decided to remain in the IWC. The other whaling countries saw the direction the commission was headed and refused to join up.

I have not once heard any of the anti-whaling countries tell Japan, "Look, stop taking advantage of the loopholes so we can figure out a system of sustainable whaling for all countries. " The focus is entirely on figuring out how to stop Japan from whaling so whaling can come to an end.

If there was even the smallest amount of honesty involved in developing a valid plan for sustainable whaling, it would be much harder for Japan to ignore it, and criticisms against the country would be much more valid. As it stands though, there are certain species of whales that are not endangered, and there is no reason to not allow sustainable whaling of them. This simply just had never been offered as an option by anti-whaling countries.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992793)

You'd only think it's ridiculous logic if you're incapable of pursuing logical argument yourself. There's absolutely nothing in what I've said that is illogical, you seem to be repeatedly trying to imply logical fallacy where there is none. You may disagree, but that's a different issue.

Your comment illustrates why you are failing to grasp the argument still:

"It's limited to Japan because Japan is one of the few countries that wanted to continue whaling and still decided to remain in the IWC"

This merely reasserts the point that Japan is one of the few selfish nations that wants to continue whaling. I do not see how this goes against the point I was making at all.

"I have not once heard any of the anti-whaling countries tell Japan, "Look, stop taking advantage of the loopholes so we can figure out a system of sustainable whaling for all countries. " The focus is entirely on figuring out how to stop Japan from whaling so whaling can come to an end."

Then you're obviously not even in a place to discuss the topic. It can be found in the discussions of pretty much every IWC meeting. Unless you get your news directly from either Greenpeace, or Japan, I fail to see how you could've missed this, it's widely reported also.

"If there was even the smallest amount of honesty involved in developing a valid plan for sustainable whaling, it would be much harder for Japan to ignore it"

That really is the situation though, and it's why in recent years Norway has slowed it's whaling industry, alongise the recognition that it can make more money by eco-tourism (whale watching) anyway, and why Japan similarly has shown signals to suggest it might even finally start playing ball. We're not there yet, but the realisation is dawning somewhat. You're absolutely right that some species of whales have more healthy populations now, but be aware that even if not endagered they're still well below their natural population levels if left unhunted by humans - sometimes as far as 90% under. Most countries do actually not worry too much about hunting of these species, the real problem is when Japan starts adding 50 fins to it's quota, and when Iceland kills over 100 a year. If you still think it's never been under discussion then there's really no point debating further with you as you don't even have a basic grasp of the history of the IWC and the facts, the whole reason for the IWC was to focus on sustainability, since it was created post war (1946), and the ban is only relatively recent (1986) pushed through 14 years after the UN suggested a 10 year global ban on whaling because stocks were already dangerously low at that point. It's hardly a suprise that another 14 years after the UN report an even longer period of whaling prevention has been necessary.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993425)

That really is the situation though, and it's why in recent years Norway has slowed it's whaling industry

Sure, but is this a good thing? The minke whale has a high reproduction rate and competes with other (slow reproduction) whale species. Norway has been hunting the minke exclusively. The secession of that hunt will mean that the minke will out-compete other species, driving those to extinction. Human hunters are the ultimate cause of this, we un-balanced the situation. We should also carefully monitor, culling where needed, the situation until a better balance can be achieved. A hysterical "all whaling must be banned" will not accomplish this. Balance will eventually be reached, but one where a number of the slower reproducing species will be extinct.

There is a reason the US is no longer banning Norwegian salmon. They did so based on the fact that Norway hunts seals. Seals reproduce very fast. It only took a couple of years for the situation with no culling to move from "interesting" to "disastrous". Thankfully both Norway and Iceland now cull the seal population.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38996095)

The minke whale outcompeting other species argument goes against pretty much everything we know about the way ecosystems and evolution work - a species is limited by the food supply available to it, and minke can only continue to increase in numbers whilst there's enough food to support that, if they have an evolutionary trait that allows them to outcompete other whales that's nothing to do with human action - that's pure evolution and that's absolutely something we shouldn't be pretending we can manage, because to date, all such experiments in doing so have been disastrous. If minke whales are outcompeting say, fin whales for food, then ultimately the situation of a greater ratio of minke whales to fin whales is the expected natural result anyway. If however that isn't the case and fins are actually better at grabbing their share of krill etc. then fins will continue to increase in population even in the face of a currently larger than natural minke whale population and the minke population will naturally decline to more natural levels as they do so. Of course, the argument is even more irrelevant to the debate when countries like Iceland and Japan are catching the slower growing species like fins anyway- obviously it's not about population control when fins sit at levels around 80% below where they were 100 years ago.

Similarly seal culls have always been more about both the fur trade and competition between man and animal for fish, it's a bit dishonest to suggest they need to be culled, whilst many of their main predators (polar bears, sharks, whales, wolves) have seen declines in population, and in many cases due to lack of food. This is particularly the case for polar bears and many shark species.

Much of what you say seems to be based on the propaganda of pro-whaling and pro-sealing groups that have vested commercial interests in what they do, but ultimately it doesn't make much sense in the face of well established scientific understanding of nature. Once again, nature does a great job of balancing populations, the only reason man needs to get involved is if they've truly fucked up by introducing species into habitats where they just thrive too well (i.e. introducing the likes of Opuntia ficus-indica, and Cane toads to Australia) or because they've decided they don't like competing with other species for food. It's worth noting that Cane toads themselves are an example of why man shouldn't get involved in population control though without expecting to truly make things even worse. The fact is that we simply can't manage nature, we do not have the resources, nor the knowledge to control such complex and chaotic systems.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998275)

Once again, nature does a great job of balancing populations

Not when man, unthinkingly, gets involved. Like with whales, where we hunted the biggest ones, the ones with the slowest population re-growth. Until we have un-done what we did, keeping the faster reproducing species that have recovered nicely under control is paramount. That's how we un-do some of what we done.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991869)

The problem is Japan, and a tiny handful of other countries (i.e. Iceland) think they're fucking special and somehow have a right to carry on whaling when everyone else has stopped/drastically cut down. If every country acted like Japan and just said "fuck it" then there'd be no whales left.

So that's what's wrong with it, it's fucking selfish, it's no more culturally significant to Japan than many other countries that have stopped, so their claims of having some special cultural heritage to protect that no one else does are frankly a load of bollocks. It's like being in a swimming pool, and some selfish fuck ruining it for everyone by peeing in the pool when everyone else recognises that's not a reasonable thing to do. Japan is that selfish fuck.

Except you have it backwards. Japan has been whaling for thousands of years. There was a period of massive industrial whaling driven by western demands.

So, it's more like "well, we killed almost all the whales, so now you can't anymore".

Which countries were selfish?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993383)

The problem is Japan, and a tiny handful of other countries (i.e. Iceland) think they're fucking special and somehow have a right to carry on whaling

What a load of cluless rubbish. The whale species (you did know there was more than one, right) hunted by Japan, Norway, Iceland and a few others, are not in any way, shape or form threatened by extinction. Haven't been for decades. In fact, the science committee in the IWC has repeatedly stated that some limited culling of these particular whale types should be re-started so as to maintain a balance. If the number of whales grow too much it can also have a detrimental effect on the environment. We could all see what happened when the morons in the "don't kill the really cute animals" organizations made Iceland and Norway stop seal hunting. Millions of starving seals drowned in fish nets all along the northern European coast. Interestingly, the highly paid politicians in the IWC repeatedly ignore the scientific point of view due to the immense pressure from clueless environmentalist like Paul Watson - an man who only a tiny step up from the Somali pirates.

Sorry dude, but scientifically, you and Paul Watson are wrong. Culling of these particular species of whale is not only responsible, it is crucial that we do so. Ask the scientists involved, not the nut-case anti-whaling lunatics.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (4, Insightful)

bakarocket (844390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978985)

Why do my moderator points never come when I need them?

a) Philanthropists don't pay for Japanese whaling. It's paid for by corporate investment, government tax breaks, and profits from the sale of whale meat at such popular restaurants as Gansokujira-ya (http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g584700/lang/en/) In this way, it's quite similar to other food-based industries around the world, like the beef industries in the USA and Australia.

b) There are many good excuses for making despicable things acceptable. Luckily, the sustainable whaling taking place in the Southern Ocean isn't despicable. I mean, seriously, it's probably the only sustainable "fishing" market on the planet. Why would anyone complain about it?

c) Finally, whales can't talk, so asking them what they think probably won't result in any useful answers.

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (-1, Redundant)

bakarocket (844390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978991)

And d) what does your comment have to do with a research institute being funded at the University of Tokyo?

Re:Scientific philanthropy in Japan ? (0, Offtopic)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979637)

Finally, whales can't talk, so asking them what they think probably won't result in any useful answers.

Yet. What they say 100 years from now will burn your ears off. Their epic ballads used to make the elves cry, but ever since the rise of the throbbing container ship, they dish more scat than Mozart.

"Mommy, I'm going to get a tattoo!"

"You stay away from licorice pasta (*). You hear me! Have you never heard old Missus Sturm (**) sing that horrible coda? She crooned and crooned for half an hour. It was the worst thing ever (***). "

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every suck you take I'll be watching you

"How did it come to this? Calves these days all want to emulate Marimba Moby. Let me tell you, they didn't call your pop the Big Maraka for nothing. Anything to stand apart. Honestly." (****)

(*) From Giant squid [wikipedia.org]

Giant squid and some other large squid species maintain neutral buoyancy in seawater through an ammonium chloride solution which flows throughout their body and is lighter than seawater. This differs from the method of flotation used by fish, which involves a gas-filled swim bladder. The solution tastes somewhat like salmiakki and makes giant squid unattractive for general human consumption.

(**) Sperm Whales May Have Names [wired.com]

(***) From The Giant Squid [unmuseum.org] :

For an hour and a half the monster clung to the whale trying to drown it as the whale's mother watched helplessly. "The little whale could stay down for 10 to 12 minutes, then come up. It would just have enough time to spout - only two or three seconds - and then down again." The squid finally won and the baby whale was never seen again.

(****) From Sperm Whales Dominica [savethewhales.org]

Thirty thousand beaks have been found in a sperm whale stomach indicating they had eaten 15,000 squid as squid have upper and lower mandibles.

 

It's not just Japan (5, Insightful)

Linzer (753270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978867)

Here, I think "Western institutions" should be understood as "mainly in the US, and to some extent the UK and the English-speaking world". To the best of my knowledge, in all other countries the situation is closer to that in Japan than in the US: the bulk of academic research is performed by public institutions using public funds.

Re:It's not just Japan (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978899)

To the best of my knowledge, in all other countries the situation is closer to that in Japan than in the US: the bulk of academic research is performed by public institutions using public funds.

There's still plenty of private funding even in countries with strong welfare states and comparatively little patronage. I work in Finland in a branch of linguistics that was fortunately founded by some wealthy men a century ago, and the endowments they left behind are still vital funding today. The heiress of a major multinational corporation studied at our department, and since she has such nice memories, we've recently been given millions in grants. We wouldn't get much done with the public funds available to us.

Re:It's not just Japan (2)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980047)

I have worked in Switzerland in the life sciences and there is plenty of private funding bodies or foundations that fund fundamental or applied research. There is certainly no shortage of rich families there. In my experience, it is rare that they fund a chair or a whole institute but it is relatively easy to get money for a PhD student or a postdoc. Companies are more difficult essentially because they always want to get something marketable out of their external funding and their grants come with all kind of annoying restrictions regarding IP and animal experimentation.

Re:It's not just Japan (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978911)

Exactly. Here in the Netherlands universities are funded based on the number of students that graduate and additional grants for specific research projects can be obtained by submitting proposals to national or European government bodies specifically created for this purpose. Private philantropy is basically only a factor in the medical sector, where patient organizations may fund research into specific diseases. Ocasionally companies sponsor research but this can hardly be called philantropy.

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

Linzer (753270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979047)

Private philantropy is basically only a factor in the medical sector, where patient organizations may fund research into specific diseases

Good point about medical research: that is a sizable exception. The difference with the model prevalent in the US is that those organizations typically collect many small donations, as opposed to large single endowments by wealthy donors.

Re:It's not just Japan (2)

fearofcarpet (654438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979489)

Ocasionally companies sponsor research

Not for long. The Dutch government has apparently decided to slash funding for basic research and replace it with "public-private partnerships" because, lacking any evidence to support this theory, they feel that scientific research should be guided by commercial applications and business opportunities. This philosophy nearly ruined research in the UK. At least in the US (which does a decent, though worsening job of supporting basic research) philanthropic giving is common enough that even non-life-sciences can find rich people to give them money, if for no other reason than all the "centers for curing $DISEASE" are already named after someone.

strategic philanthropy (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38983827)

Ocasionally companies sponsor research but this can hardly be called philantropy.

"Strategic philanthropy" is a business term for charitable activity aligned with the business mission
For example, a local grocery store/pharmacy chain funded a school of pharmacy at one of the local universities

Re:It's not just Japan (5, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979015)

Private donors are only necessary in societes where the state or other public institutions cannot handle the task (alone). This concepts is well suited for the US and to some extend for the UK, but from my continental European view, this is state business. The term state has a different conotation in Europe. It is the primary organisation of all people. It was founded to guarantee some services (education, research, safety, cultural development, social wellfare etc.) independent from the will of some donors, because they are unreliable (in our cultures).

Re:It's not just Japan (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980017)

Private donors may be necessary, but they are abhorrent. The technology to practically produce Butanol was done partly with public funds but the patent is now held by Butamax, a holding company for DuPont and BP. If you try to produce Butanol, a carbon-neutral 1:1 replacement for gasoline with improved emissions, they will sue you.

Fuck private donors, I'd rather public research. It might go slower, but we the people could see the benefits of our investments sooner. Or, you know, at all.

Re:It's not just Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980811)

You seem to be under the impression that publicly funded research leads to unfettered public use of resulting technology, with no private entity holding the patents. As a researcher who has watched the patenting of several techs in my department which were generated using public funds, I can assure you, you are wrong. At least in the U.S.

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981733)

What you're talking about is a problem with patent law and socialism, not private research. If there had been no use of public funds, then the ability to profit from the results is understandable in a free market. The patent eventually runs out. When part of the funding is public, and then the capitalist is allowed to benefit from the patent, it's crony capitalism.

Re:It's not just Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992023)

"The technology to practically produce Butanol was done partly with public funds but the patent is now held by Butamax, a holding company for DuPont and BP. If you try to produce Butanol, a carbon-neutral 1:1 replacement for gasoline with improved emissions, they will sue you."

I suspect, only if you used their method - butanol is a natural molecule.

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981313)

because they are unreliable (in our cultures).

Well, they're unreliable in our culture, too. Now if only our government took care of its citizens as well as yours does.

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38984447)

Private donors have a dark side to them: institutions that live on donations become slaves to the donors, and donors' ideas may not (and usually don't!) align with what's generally good for the academic integrity of an institution of higher learning.

My pet peeve: collegiate sports in the U.S. Many in the academia somewhat reluctantly agree that providing public entertainment is not necessarily in the core mission of, say, a Big Ten university. So, in an ideal world, they'd be able to simply disband the football team, demolish the stadiums, and focus on what academia is all about. The concept of sports scholarships is broken beyond wildest comprehension: just because someone has a hobby that can possibly generate the school some money should entitle them to having their education paid for?! WTF? As far as I'm concerned, everything but academic and family pursuits are a hobby as far as college is concerned. Now, in reality, no college will ever disband their big-name public-facing athletic teams. Why? Because their donations would largely dry out. They are slaves to donors. It's fucked up, that's what it is: they cannot decide for themselves what's good, they must listen to people who are "in" mostly for name/brand recognition, and for skybox passes at the stadium.

It's the same with budgets in government. Any sane business will have reserves and surpluses that they decide how to spend on. Long-term strategic planning involves saving up money (or getting loans) and doing projects with those funds. In government, it's all ass-backwards. They cannot have a surplus because otherwise their budgets are cut, and thus they wastefully spend any excess funds at end of the fiscal year. Moreover, they cannot make rational business decisions: everything becomes political because they have to beg for money to do anything "extra" (that shouldn't be "extra" but normal strategic planning in the first place).

Re:It's not just Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987271)

Collegiate sports are a form of advertising for universities - one of my undergrad classmates from Hong Kong applied initially due to recognizing the name from the NCAA tournament. Texas, Ohio State, etc. are in the news for sports which makes them draw interest from more students vs. say UT-Dallas or Miami University. While a lot of donations go to support college athletics, memories of the traditional college experience, which for US schools includes sports/clubs drives general financial support for the school as a whole. Ivy League donors give because they have great memories of their time there. There is a case to be made for treating major college sports as semi-pro, but there is also a case for rewarding a student who brings prestige to his university - private schools with Ivy envy offer merit scholarships because having alumni win e.g. Rhodes scholarships or attain high office brings the school prestige. How are sports that much different?

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980937)

Agreed. I admit I was surprised to read this.

Slavoj Zizek said once that there's an element of hypocrisy in charity and philanthropy, e.g. Soros fixes with the right hand what he breaks with the left one, and that the rational thing to do is to put together a system (taxation, for instance) in which philanthropy would be unnecessary. This scheme is what I'm familiar with, and so far it works.

Re:It's not just Japan (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992999)

I think that's right. Philanthropy of the scale and type referred to in the summary is really quite an American thing (I wouldn't even extend that to the rest of the English-speaking world to be honest).

One nice thing people around here (Australia) will generally say about Americans, despite the fact that poking fun at Americans is somewhat a (light hearted) national pasttime here, is that they are generous. They generally mean this on a personal level, but having lived in the US for quite a while myself, I can definitely say that there is a culture of philanthropy there that goes way beyond what it does in other developed countries. That partly stems from the greater income disparity in the US I think (there's a lot more very poor people in the US as a proportion of the population compared to other OECD countries, but on the flipside, there's more super-wealthy as well, who are willing and able to donate sums large enough to make a difference).

Also I see philanthropy as "filling the gap" left by the pack of public services and funding that we take for granted in other countries. To use a basic example, compare the BBC in the UK/the ABC in Australia/CBC in Canada with PBS in the US ... the former three are very good quality but funded completely by government, the latter relies on public donations - the continual "please support us" and "this show was made possible by" ads on PBS were definitely a very noticeable and unusual thing to me the first time I saw it. Similarly, every time I visit a gallery or exhibition in the US, I notice that the corporate and individual sponsors are made very obvious (either printed in a guide book, or on a plaque on the wall etc.) I also note that most buildings named after a person are named for the person who gave money to fund that building's development, whereas in Australia it's more usual that buildings are simply named after someone influential in the relevant field (even if it was funded by private individuals).

I'm not saying that philanthropy is an ~exclusively~ American thing, but the culture of giving large amounts to institutions seems to be an order of magnitude greater in the US than in other similar countries.

So what? (5, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978997)

Obviously it is not common in Japanese culture to do such big donations. Most likely their society and culture works different from the US/UK culture. This hardly classifies as a problem. Honestly, they have most likely other ways to finance education and science. And when I look at their industry and how good they are with their products, well I guess their system works.

BTW: I do not want a totally US-ified world. It is great to be different.

Re:So what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979089)

I look at their industry and how good they are with their products, well I guess their system works.

Go to Japan some time. The vast majority of their products are total crap. Only the best of the best gets exported.

Re:So what? (2, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979887)

Well I'll admit Akihabra isn't as fun as it used to be 10+ years ago. But I can still spend hours looking at all the wonderful "crap" they sell in Yodobashi Camera*. A lot of Japanese day to day things are a lot better than the stuff we get in the UK. (Mind you, it could be UK stuff is shite. Apart from Tea, you can't decent cup outside Blighty)
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yodobashi_Camera [wikipedia.org]

DELL Latitude E6220 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979019)

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USA-centric bias (5, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979025)

"The gifts that serve Western insitutions so well"

Nonsense.

"The gifts that serve US institutions so well". FTFY.

One more typical example of a Slashdot poster / submitter / "author" assuming that US="The western world".

Re:USA-centric bias (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993021)

Agreed. The US has a culture of philanthropy far, far larger than exists anywhere else (including other Western, English-speaking countries). It's immediately obvious if you spend any decent amount of time in the US (particularly in medical, artistic etc. fields) how much reliance is placed public donations, both large and small, compared to other countries.

The Lack of understanding... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979129)

Ok.
Before we criticize why they can't donate money easily in Japan, let's think a second.
Imagine that I am rich (and perverted, but then I repeat myself).
Imagine that I really like [insert my favorite not so useful subject. Ok. it's B**bs].
I donate X Billions to University Y IF they study b00b enhancement.
We now have the Countries Finest NOT studying cancer cure...

Or if we want a real world example.
Wall Street sucking up all the smart brains so that they can program the computers than then battle in Economical World War 3.
I think that there might have been good intention for stopping private interest to buy/"donate to" the world of Academia.

Just my 0.05¥

Re:The Lack of understanding... (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979349)

I think the problem is more systemic than this. For many different reasons, medical research is a rather poor-paying career, compared to other careers available to kids smart enough to go that route (such as finance), so even if some rich people do give some funding, it's not enough to overcome the poor conditions for that career overall, and these research fields don't get that many really smart people going into them. It's not just Wall Street, or rich people wanting more research into b00b enhancement, there's probably a giant list of factors including government policy, politics, corporate management, etc.

Re:The Lack of understanding... (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979907)

How about this - when you go into a "needed" career. You get massive tax breaks. All nurses will be exempt from vat/saletax after x years of service. A system open to abuse I guess. But so it any tax system.

Re:The Lack of understanding... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980859)

How about this - when you go into a "needed" career. You get massive tax breaks.

So, who decides what is "needed"?

And how much will it cost to bribe him/her/it to make my chosen career "needed"?

Or, for that matter to make my (hypothetical) ex-wife's career not "needed"?

Re:The Lack of understanding... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993045)

While it hasn't got anything to do with tax, Australia's immigration policies are based on such a concept.

There's a list of 'needed' careers, or careers in demand that gets updated from time to time by the relevant government agencies (relying on figures from the Bureau of Statistics and Department of Employment and Workplace Relations). If you have qualifications in a needed field, you'll find the immigration requirements significantly relaxed compared to others. Here's the current list of 'desired' occupations: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/_pdf/sol-schedule1.pdf [immi.gov.au]

Point is, it'd quite possible to apply a similar thing to a tax system and provided it's run by a good government employing proper transparency and anti-corruption safeguards (which in any civilised country should already be in place), it shouldn't pose a problem.

Re:The Lack of understanding... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981811)

I think there's a pretty good market in curing cancer. In fact, I'm sure that billions more are spent in treating cancer than making big boobs. There is certainly a market for big fake boobs, but people like John Huntsman, Sr. would be spending big bucks on cancer research even if he was only in it for the money. Big boobs are great, but they're not much use if you're dead. I'm not sure why you think that public funds are inherently more "good" than private-- just because they're "more democratic"? Ironically, breast cancer survivors would be happy if you were were working on boob enhancement because most of what we've learned there can be used in breast reconstruction following surgery.

Philanthropy good? (5, Insightful)

solidraven (1633185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979183)

In a good system the resources are already there, and as far as I know that is pretty much the case in Japan. So the only logical conclusion is: "Philanthropy is a solution to a problem that shouldn't (and in this case doesn't) exist."

This was my first thought as well. (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979591)

In a good system the resources are already there, and as far as I know that is pretty much the case in Japan. So the only logical conclusion is: "Philanthropy is a solution to a problem that shouldn't (and in this case doesn't) exist."

The problem with funding like this is that it empties public research into private ownership by making funding the goal of schools. The first and foremost goal of schools is and should be to teach.

In California, we have this terrible system which from the article seems to be on the brink of being exported to Japan.

To put things in perspective, almost 36% of all taxes in California go to education ($49 Billion FY2012-2013 : http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/agencies.html [ca.gov] ), and that's not including money from bond initiatives for stem cell research or other earmarks which end up at research universities, and it's not including the costs of education as part of rehabilitation for the mentally ill or incarcerated prisoners, which end up being another $18B (drill down on the numbers on that government site).

If you consider only K-12, there are 9,600 publicly funded schools serving 6.2M students (http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fb/index.asp); that's a cost of $63,000 per student, working out to ~$4M per school.

And the teachers at the schools in my area are constantly trying to raise funds for books, paper, pencils, and white board markers. At $63,000 per student per year, you'd think they'd buy them a damn box of pencils.

Before you try to claim "that's not a lot per student", realize that the median household income in California is less than that, it's just under $61,000 for the whole family, including all wage earners (U.S. Census : http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html [census.gov] ).

I don't know where the hell all this money is going (I'd like an independent audit, please!) but it sure as hell isn't getting to the classrooms, so it has to be disappearing somewhere between the Franchise Tax Board and the classrooms.

As far as higher education is concerned, the colleges around here are canceling classes all over the place. You'd think that the more students they had, the more tuition they'd get, the more classes they'd have, but no, tuition collected is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the almost $10B in taxes paid to them by the state, and they optimize on the basis of revenue instead (hey, why have a student spend 4 years * tuition, when you can cancel a class and have them spend 5 years * tuition instead?). They also optimize it by preferentially admitting out of state students (who have to pay higher tuitions), but that's OK, those students can go to other states themselves, and pay out of state tuition there, instead.

And this is the model school system you are going to hold up for other countries to follow?

Japan: Save yourself before it's too late!

-- Terry

Re:This was my first thought as well. (4, Insightful)

jellie (949898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980727)

Your numbers for the K-12 education are off by an order of magnitude. The total state budget for K-12 education is $39.2 billion. With a total enrollment in the state of 6.2 million students, then it's an average of $6,300 per student.

What's really destroying education in California is Proposition 13. That single proposition stripped away a significant amount of money earned from property taxes. The housing market has ballooned a lot over the past few decades, but now many properties have an assessed value way below their true market values.

Re:This was my first thought as well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986863)

but now many properties have an assessed value way below their true market values.

Minor correction, practically zero private housing (the "Save Grandma's House!" lie used to pass it), but nearly 100% of commercial/industrial property, which will now in perpetuity have no reason to ever be valued above assesment at initial construction.

Mea Culpa, I scaled the wrong direction. (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989821)

Mea Culpa.

The median income is before taxes, and the median houshold with children is 2.5 kids. So 6,300 * 2.5 = 18,900 vs. 61,000 / 2 = 30,500 is still well over half.

-- Terry

Re:This was my first thought as well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38983539)

The problem with funding like this is that it empties public research into private ownership by making funding the goal of schools. The first and foremost goal of schools is and should be to teach.

They are not schools, they are universities. When universities are seen as just vehicles for teaching, then there are no resources for research, and then you get the need for obtaining outside funds for doing actual research. If you demand and fund teaching foremost, don't be surprised when you get teaching but not research, which leaves the research to researchers who can attract private funds to pay off their teaching responsibilities.

Re:Philanthropy good? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981839)

So who decides what's "good" to research?

Re:Philanthropy good? (1)

solidraven (1633185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989635)

How does this even relate to funding issues?

And the simple fact is, any research is good research. If something doesn't work as expected or not at all it's still useful. Many great discoveries started as a series of accidents or failures. The main importance is that these are well documented and shared so other people don't make the same mistakes..

U-T is ridiculously well financed already (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979357)

As a Tokyo U. graduate who had more or less no difficulty obtaining nearly $200k to spend on my PhD work while a student, believe me when I tell you that U-T is rather well off. OK, that's an anecdote, but I know you like data, so how about some anecdata:

The University of Tokyo - the only winner? [chemistry.or.jp]

In particular, note the horrific Figure 1 on the top left of page 2. See the dot way up there? There's Tokyo University, getting assloads more research money than any other university in Japan, even though it doesn't have a whole lot more staff to spend it. Well, that's the data part, here's the anecdote:

The linked document is actually an article written by a University of Tokyo staffer attempting to dispel the "myth" (= fact) that Tokyo University gets way more funding, per person, than any other university (or research institute) in Japan! Amazing.

Though having said that, it's perfectly understandable. As anyone who has spent even a year working in Japanese academia will attest, knowing how to lie with a straight face is probably the single best skill one can bring to their career. Sure, that talent can give you a career boost pretty much anywhere, but in Japan, it's a really big deal. French is for love, perl is for line noise, and - just trust me on this one, dear reader - Japanese is for lying.

It's little wonder, then, that research institutes in Japan are so backward (relative to their insane budgets). (Reason #2, for anyone still reading, is that retirement at (or close to) age 60 is compulsory for all academics, which cuts brutally short the careers of those few brilliant researchers who can pass on their expertise to future generations.)

tl; dr: anyone donating to Tokyo University is stupid and/or has been deceived; it's already bleeding cash.

Put to top of thread. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979971)

Too bad there isn't a way to vote a post to the top of a thread.

I just spent minutes reading about an argument above that ended up debating the merits of eating chilled monkey brains.

Start reading from the bottom doesn't help either. Down there you have to read a bunch of shit about Cowboy Neil's suppositories or something like that.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979991)

I'm sorry but as a Japanese involved in medical research at a university I find mutliple points in your post suspect and other points just ouright offensive. First off it's not that Tokyo University gets more funding it's that researchers at Tokyo University are much more likely to get funding. Having the name and the background and the history of success immediately puts your proposals at the thead of the pack. I actually don't see much wrong with that and it certainly seems to have produced a lot of things in the past.

Japanese is for lying? While it's easy to be vague in Japanese I wouldn't call it a langauge for lying.

Research institutes in Japan aren't backwards at all, and research costs money. Some of the research I'm participating in now required a small group of exteremely specialized software engineers and a custom built medical imaging device that required a crane to lift into the facility - that stuff doesn't come cheap.

And retirement is optional from 60, not compulsory. The research manager on the project I'm in now is 68.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980121)

Hi there, I'm the AC above to whom you're replying. I wish I had the patience to give you a polite and considered response, but I've had a really hard day fighting people who are quite possibly as ignorant as you, perhaps more so.

Unfortunately (for both of us, sigh), as a non-Japanese, I have a relatively low tolerance for bullshit. To wit:

And retirement is optional from 60, not compulsory.

This is bullshit. To give you just one example, Tokyo University has the following policy:

Article 18 Mandatory Retirement Age

1. The mandatory retirement age of employees is 60 years of age, and the retirement date is
the first March 31 that falls on or after the day employees reach retirement age.

Source: The University of Tokyo Rules on Conditions of Employment of Academic and Administrative Staff [u-tokyo.ac.jp]

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980163)

So the retirement age at University of Tokyo is 60, yet you stated it was 60 for all academics in Japan. The government set the retirement age around 60, that means you can retire and start collecting from then on. Tokyo University simply made it mandatory to retire at that age - perhaps they had issues with researchers not retiring. But that wouldn't stop a researcher who's reached the age of 60 at Tokyo University from finding a position somewhere else.

You sound like one of those foreigners who refuses to accept the way things are done here simply because you don't understand the system and constantly tries to change how things are to the ways you think are right. I've dealt with your type before. If you really think things are better in some other system then go there, we don't need your type here.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980401)

So would you rather have the US Navy or TEPCO running a nuclear reactor near you?

If something went wrong, would you trust the US Navy or TEPCO more?

Exactly how is the Japanese cultural tradition of saving face and being vague a good thing there?

Should the evil Westerners who suggested things like gee, don't put all your backup generators in the basement just go away?

Fact is, the Japanese way of doing a lot of things falls short. And no one is more acutely aware of this or paying a higher price for it than Japan. Any criticisms of Japanese culture aren't going to go away, because the problems they create aren't going to go away. Not even if you're Japanese. Especially if you're Japanese.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981357)

You're a slave to the jews and don't even know it.

rediscover911.com/who-did-911

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38982939)

Well, the Japanese system isn't easy to understand... Actually between retiring at 60 and starting to receive pension at 65, there's a 5 year gap. (for these kinds of positions) The expectation is that you've made the connections, and made your bed, during your career that you got some cushy job waiting for you.

E.g. why do you think the Japanese nuclear industry regulatory body is so ineffective? Well, it's their way of combating corruption by allowing 'some' corruption. The thinking is that if the current employees think that by keeping the ship steady now, they'll reap the benefits when they retire, they'll not be tempted by offers that undermine the system. Thus Japan has ended up in a quagmire with no way of pushing forward into the kind of society that northern europe has created in the past couple of decades.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985731)

Nope, the original AC said it was 60 for all academics (implied: in that school). The "in Japan" part? -- you just made that up.

Re:U-T is ridiculously well financed already (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981537)

(another foreigner here) Perhaps you should talk to other people? There are 120 million people in here and most don't fit your description (unless you start judging them as a group, which will likely piss them off - Japanese are rather sensitive to it). As usual, for best experience talk to the brightests, not necessarily the most accomplished.

Too be fair, yes, there is a lot of bullshit in places like universities, but then, is it really that much different than, say, in the US? Sure, it is a different kind of bullshit (coming from consensus rather than individual ambitions) but ultimately what matters is its quantity, and it is fairly similar everywhere.

Not a bad thing at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979403)

Less outside funding = Less corruption.

There is something fishy about all this, even the premise of the article.

Why is it bad that institutions can't use donated money do invest into the stock market. I don't understand why an institution just doesn't use it's own funds to invest,

In fact, the whole idea of making not for profit institutes, more profitable, is wrong, as the entire reason the you become not for profit is to serve ideals and not money. Otherwise, why become not for profit?

The limits placed on an organisation that is run not for profit are for their _own_ good, because, eventually, money & people = greed & corruption.

I hope they don't bring it to Greece. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979409)

Because 'kavli' in Greek means 'cock'.

Different cultural attitudes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979415)

Being "remembered when you're gone" seems to be a big deal in the US, and a sizable percentage of US philantropy goes towards libraries, university buildings, extenstions to museums and the like. Most of the time, the donor's name is given to the building in question.

You might call these kind of gifts "high society" donations - they will open many doors for you, both socially and in business. There comes a point when you have to question the effectiveness of charity. For example, maybe I decide to donate $3 Million to Harvard University. I get invited to lots of parties and social functions, and rub shoulders with the well-to-do. But Harvard's endowment is $32 Billion, so my benevolent act has added less than 0.01% to Harvard's overall wealth - a small drop in the ocean.

Living in a third world country, I can think of a number of social projects that would be transformed with a small fraction of the hypothetical $3 Million donation. There are cases where privately funded science kicks ass (the Nobel Prizes), but building the grandiose "Larry Ellison lecture hall" for an Ivy League CS department wouldn't be universally acknowledged as a selfless gesture.

Re:Different cultural attitudes (1)

Ricwot (632038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981349)

It doesn't have to be selfless to be good. The person who grew your coffee beans did it out of their own selfish interest to make money to feed their family. The mailman doesn't bring you letters because he likes you, or because he believes that he personally makes society a better place. I didn't move to another country to teach because I have a firmly held belief that what I am doing improves the world. It helps those I teach, and lines a lot of peoples pockets along the way. Selfishness is a good thing, and vanity can certainly help others. Visit any Carnegie library to find that out.

Re:Different cultural attitudes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38984937)

People can improve the lives of others by exchanging goods and services? You don't say :)

Using large sums of capital for a perceived "good" is a rather different ball-game. 100 years ago, Carnegie was indeed spending money on the greater good. Society is hugely different today - we know how people live their lives all over the world. You profess that greed and vanity is good. We deliberately keep valuable information hidden behind paywalls designed to benefit a vanishingly small number of people. Do you think that a University in Cambodia should be compelled to pay extortionate amounts for Elsevier subscriptions to keep in touch with scientific advancements?

Of course, if prominent scientists were not so vain that they wanted to be published in those "prestigious journals", Elsevier would collapse overnight. In a world where selflessness was considered a virtue rather than a weakness to be exploited, libraries would scan every book and journal in their catalogue and make them accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Let's hope that the Khan Academies of this world make their mark. Applauding faux-philantropy perpetuates our broken global society,

Advantage of rich people not paying enough taxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979419)

What's the advantage of the US system letting pay millionaires less taxes (in percentage) than workers (which leads to chronic underfunding of education in the first place), and giving these tax evaders the opportunity to show "generosity" by "presenting" back to the public the money taken before (by "being friendly" with opportunistic politicians).

A bit about Japan (3, Interesting)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38979621)

A lot of people in this thread seem to be coming to the defense of the Japanese university system, but what the poster said is basically true. In addition to not having much in donations, it's not as geared towards research like American schools, being instead more of a place to make good white-collar workers for their industries. They have fewer grad students and less research budgets. I would generally say that the US is better off in term of research.

See this article for an exception that proves the rule:
http://www.economist.com/node/21540228 [economist.com]

And those saying that "It's a state matter, the state should fund all reasearch" - you do know that you can have both, right? In fact the US government spends gobs of money on research, the donations come on top of that.

Re:A bit about Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980077)

... more of a place to make good white-collar workers for their industries.

Most US universities do just that. University isn't a place to get educated, it's just vocational training - get a degree that makes you employable.

A Liberal Arts and Science degree is an education. Everything else is job training.

Re:A bit about Japan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38980633)

I will see your "US governments spends gobs of money on research" bullshit and raise it to a video of Neil deGrasse Tyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sre6whBOSzE

mod 0P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979875)

Happen. 'AT le4st

High taxes and inflation (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38980359)

20 years of high taxes and inflation took away all sorts of purchasing power from the Japanese, whether they would or would not do more 'scientific philanthropy' if they had more purchasing power if government was not stealing their government, I don't know.

But I do know that there would have been much more investment capital in everybody's pockets, and the real driver of useful innovation is not government but private enterprise.

Re:High taxes and inflation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981119)

You know the main issue in Japan has been _deflation_, right?

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981473)

Deflation is the boogeyman that the politicians like to throw around, covering themselves with the nonsense propagated by the Keynesian charlatans. Deflation is what Japan SHOULD have, because of how productive Japan is, but instead it has inflation, which is what government creates with all the money printing.

Were it not for the government actions of the last 20 years, Japanese would have 5 times more purchasing power and prices would have been much lower in Japan. Instead the purchasing power is stolen from the people and the prices are not falling as they should be and the investment capital and savings of the world are not coming into Japan, all of which is a big negative for that stagnating economy.

Japan NEEDS deflation, instead it's using US advised idiocy of inflating the currency in order to 'export more', which of-course is simply a way for companies to lower the prices of their products without showing it on the corporate balance sheets and thus still enjoy large nominal bonuses at the end of the year.

What those companies should do, if they are so interested in more exports, is to compete more on quality and price and the government must be prohibited from printing money and then Japan would enjoy a real huge boom - lots of savings and investments that would not be destroyed by inflation and low prices.

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981783)

Using a "car analogy":

Fighting deflation with government spending is like pushing a gas pedal without releasing brakes. It may seem as if it worked but fuel efficiency is crap and despite all the effort others accelerate faster.

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985447)

I've been in Japan too long, so I miss the good shit. What kind of drugs are they selling these days, cause damn... They seem to kick hard.

Japan has been begging for an excuse, *any* excuse, they could find to devalue their currency. As it is now only the old people have any money at all, while the current generation of young people are fucked, like buttplug in ass and dry dildo down throat fucked. And with industry slowly getting moved overseas due to high cost of labor the future workforce of this country will lack the skills needed once the currency falls back down to decent levels.

I have no idea what kind of a world you live in, but it seems pretty common amongst 'free thinkers' in the US... At least European versions of you are only doing the anarchist, environmental shit which is rather harmless.

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985739)

Well, I am not a Japanese and don't even speak the language, but should they seek outside assistance in kicking the bad habits and turning the economy around, I can provide the advice and direction for a very small fee (relative to the huge economic boost that will be created) indeed. Nobody in Europe and US is really listening, in fact most of the world is doing the same damn thing - destroying their own purchasing power and thus economy and society in the worthless bloody currency war, nobody seems to understand the real economics.

But I actually think that out of many other people, Japanese could really thrive because of the strange mentality, which they would adhere to, if they were basically told - this is what you do.

I'd set a simple enough 1 year plan to reduce the regulation register, get rid of income taxes, reduce government spending, allow competition in currency and privatise most of assets that the government holds publicly, and within a year the economy would turn around and would experience a massive boom with tons of people fighting to put their savings into that economy and hundreds of thousands of professional immigrants trying to enter the country to work there and various businesses would spring to life.

But of-course I would put a gun to the heads of the zombie banks and corporations, they would be liquidated within weeks and I don't give a shit how many suicides would follow that necessary cleansing.

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986559)

Ok, what have you done to the real roman_mir?

But of-course I would put a gun to the heads of the zombie banks and corporations, they would be liquidated within weeks and I don't give a shit how many suicides would follow that necessary cleansing.

The real roman_mir would never resort to forcing private companies and individuals to do his bidding at the threat of violence. That would make him become the government, the very thing he crusades against

*gasp* good god, did one of the former USSR agents got him?

Re:High taxes and inflation (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986709)

You are intellectually bankrupt, since you can't even see a metaphor for what it is. Putting a gun to the head of a zombie bank or a zombie corporations does not mean an actual projectile weapon, (expletive deleted), it means the end to the public support in the form of free government credit and insurance to those bankrupt organisations and it means a fire sale of all government held assets of those zombie banks and corporations.

They would self destruct within day or hours or even minutes, just like US zombie banks and corporations would, and given some of the Japanese traditions reserved for such cases of false sense of 'dishonour' I would be at all surprised to hear about multiple suicides among the former chief executives of those failed enterprises.

Now go do something that you can really consider to be useful, like count hairs in your nose or something.

Re:High taxes and inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987925)

You are intellectually bankrupt

Thanks for the compliment. I do try to bring myself down to the level of those I reply to. It's something I do for fun.

since you can't even see a metaphor for what it is.

Oh I saw it perfectly. It is you who can't see a joke for what it is.

Now go do something that you can really consider to be useful, like count hairs in your nose or something.

Interesting. So you considering counting hairs in my nose to be more useful than reading your posts and listening to your message?

Re:High taxes and inflation (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993467)

So you considering counting hairs in my nose to be more useful than reading your posts and listening to your message?

I think he was referring to the "forming a reply" bit.

"Scientific philantrophy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981445)

Ha! You mean like the wonderful all American "political philantrophy"?

How the money will be spent (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38981481)

Japan’s university law, however, does not allow public universities to put money into high-yield but risky investment schemes. That makes it nearly impossible for institutions to use the returns on an endowment to continuously support themselves, as the other 15 Kavli institutes do. “You’re better off just spending the endowment,” says Murayama. Murayama says that the money will allow the IPMU to continue wooing foreign researchers by, for example, finding jobs for spouses and helping to place researchers’ children in international schools. The ministry considers such expenditures to be “personal matters” and not reimbursable with public funds.

So instead of spending the money on research today they are investing it. Wow I guess their research is not a sound investment. Even the University doesn't want to spend money on it.

Pro-US bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990293)

I absolutely *love* how this /. submission makes it look like the US system of 'philantrophy' is The Right Way of conducting scientific research. Like private funding is the solution to everything. Like, to impartial and objective research.

Sure, you're an American/Anglo-Saxon site, but could you at least look a bit further.

Guess how many wealthy Americans would still donate if it wasn't tax-deductable.

Oh, good. . . (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993577)

. . . now that the science departments are being supported externally, the Japs can continue to follow the traditions of Western schools - to gut the science departments' funding to build fancy new stadiums and buy more football uniforms!

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