Well-written and deeply considered article. Like your point that basic science often trails practical discovery.
Yes private, collaborative, citizen science is a good thing. Firms like Lux help a lot — huge admiration for your portfolio. And yes a few tech billionaires are backing bold R&D as well.
Still, this is not enough.
The USA earns 20% of world GDP with under 5% of world population. There are a lot of people who want the jobs we have.
The article does not mention the billions being funded by China and other states right now, that will give those countries a substantial boost in future. China resolved to invest heavily, even while millions of their people are suffering on a subsistence income. They are looking to win long term.
Like it or not, we are in a high stakes science race.
So yes, let us reform how U.S. government distributes its funds. But let’s not say it is healthy for private science to replace public science. MORE OF BOTH ARE NEEDED NOW.
Consider genetic manipulation, quantum computing, novel energy, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, brain-computer interface, distributed networks, advanced manufacturing… 8 techs that are poised to drive massive societal change and rewrite all the rules.
We should be “surging” our basic research funding, and we should be dramatically re-committing to STEM in schools. This is a Sputnik moment (times eight or more) for our generation. Let us demand that the public and our politicians see that, not let them off the hook.