4/22/13: Role of Government

Private Industry
Individual action
defense--useful to gov't
to protect the public
for the public good
new consumer products
profitability should decided direction of technology
inventor in garage


promoting the use of new technologies
because society will benefit
improve the life of the public
advertising new products
individuals using their name for a good cause
deciding whether a new technology is desirable
democratic process can decide issues about which we will never agree
some issues are best decided as a society
works well when profitability matches the good of society
individual choice should be most important
protecting public health

preventing environmental harm

different ways the government can take action:
  1. government agency can hire people to do the work in a government facility
  2. government can contract with a private company to do the work according to government specifications--result is owned by the government
  3. government purchases services from private industry--industry can do the job any way they want and takes on the risk of whether it will make money
  4. government can regulate private industry
  5. government can pay for research and make the results freely available to private industry