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June 02, 1982 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1982-06-02

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Opin ion
Page 6 Wednesday, June 2, 1982 The Michigan Daily
The Michigan Daily Wasserman
WOMANIWNCREASE WOM 1 ARC E oNStBl l lAPMoRITY OF W LARE M . PR EM NT- W 'v
Vol. XCII, Na. 20 U8MPoYM NT W Ei Niy MOST OE TE HYSTRIA REINTS ARE GT 00U ISSUE ro RTIE
ENTERT 'i E JOB MARKET A0ou0 NUULEAR WAR WOIAOI 82 . LcuIONS
Ninety-two Years of Editorial Freedom
edited and managed by student
at the University of Michigan
Wishful thinking

HE VAST expansionary arms program of
the Reagan administration is beginning to
hit many factories, but it is not producing many
jobs. Perhaps guns and butter do not mix as
well as Pentagon officials had claimed.
Pentagon officials have long boasted that the
massive arms buildup, now set at $1.5 billion
dollars over the next five years, would reduce
the rate of unemployment. But according to
several officials of defense-related industries,
employment in the defense sector will increase
only slightly by 1984.
Defense contractors are heavily dependent
upon high-technology forms of production that
typically employ relatively few production
workers compared with other industries. And
because of public outcry over cost overruns by
.many contractors, the industry is expected to
rely more on labor-saving robotics devices.
Clearly, the Pentagon's attempt to justify its
bloated budget by predicting more jobs is
merely bluster. Meanwhile, the huge budget
does put strains on the national deficit, and, in
turn, interest and inflation rates.
Congress members face tough decisions in
the coming weeks in trying to decide how much
is needed for national defense, but they should
ignore Pentagon attempts to pawn off its huge
budget as an economic service. The defense
budget should be argued on the basis of its
ability to defend this country-not its wrongly,
presumed ability to employ workers.
LAST LINE OF 1DEFENSE
PROY pE
SOME
BOSSC
'""P E5F.L ---
~ .
z RE -

Co liege research:
For whose profit ?

By Shaun Assael
A casual glance through the
research catalogues of this
nation's most prestigious
colleges reveals a frightening
fact: American universities are
not the homes of liberal social
research that they once were;
they are fast becoming the silent
partners of large multi-national
corporations in expensive and
advanced high-technology
research.
This development raises a
disturbing practical question. If
American's universities heavily
commit themselves to computer,
micro-electronics, and robotics
research, will they have enough
resources left over to fund their
present humanities programs
and social research projects? If
not, the next generations of
college students may be learning
in institutions increasingly
geared to high-technology
research and education.
JOINT multi-million dollar
ventures between universities
and corporations abound these
days. In its February 6, 1982 issue
The Nation reported that Car-
negie Mellon University is
cooperating with Westinghouse in
robotics research; the University
of Minnesota is being joined by
Honeywell, Sperry Univac, and
General Electric in its new
micro-electronics center; and the
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology is contracting with
the International Telephone and
Telegraph Company, General
Motors and ten other firms in
polymer processing. This univer-
sity, widely involved in
engineering and biological
research, has as one of its pen-
ding proposals a $2.4 million
study into surface modulations
caused by ion and laser beams
that is funded by the Navy.
Every time ope of these joint
ventures begin, a university's
best faculty get swallowed in it.

As James Lesch, Director of
Academic Research and
Development Administration,
said, "It's like gambling -the
corporations want to put their
money on the best bets, the most
well known and respected
faculty."-
with government funds for
education shrinking, it seems less
likely that universities will be
able to resist multi-million dollar
research offers from cor-
porations, and more likely that
their best faculty will get con-
sumed by them. Where will this
leave the student who wants to
speak with his professor after
class or ask him to sponsor an in-
novative research project?
Some of this privately funded
research is necessary. State and
federal funding of universities
has been on the decline and
colleges have to pick up the slack
somewhere. Unfortunately,
however, an overwhelming
amount of the funding that
colleges do receive from cor-
porations and government goes
for the purposes of corporate
profit and mass destruction.
WITH CORPORATIONS
becoming increasingly influen-
tial on college campuses,
universities run the risk of
surrendering too much infor-
mation to their funders, leading
only to corporate profit. A stan-
dard agreement between a
college and corporation includes
a provision that gives the com-
pany the first right to buy all
patents from the research.
Hypothetically, if Nestle con-
tracted with a university to
create a baby food that would
dramatically improve the health
of children throughout the third
world, Nestle would be able to
buy the patent for the product
first. If the baby food was more
expensive to produce than the
food Nestle currently markets in
third world countries, even
though it was better the com-

pany could refuse to produce the
new product.
In such a case, the corporation
has funded important research
hut to whose advantage? Because
it would erode Nestle's profits,
the company could refuse to give
it to the mothers and children
who need it most.
EVEN MORE alarming is the
money that is not intended for the
betterment of human life at all,
but for its destruction. The
Department of Defense spends
millions of dollars every year to
fund .research at universities
across the nation.
Often, the supervision over
these projects is nonexistent or
very lax. No university professor
is supposed to engage in reserch
that could lead to human death,
but there are no clear definitions
of what safe research is. Safe
research is as vague a concept as
the Holy Roman Empire was at
its fall, for it was neither holy,
Roman, nor an empire.
In the 19th century, universities
were designed to nurture "vir-
tuous knowledge" and help solve
society's practical problems -
admirable goals for then and
now. But society's problems
today are different than they
were in 1882; University resear-
chers were not asked by the
government to draw blueprints
for a Stealth Bomber. With in-
tellectual capital expensive and
scarce, our university resources,
should be used as the 19th century
founders suggested and not
squandered on short term quar-
terly profits and a needless arms
race.
Assael is an LSA junior.

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