The Role of Science in Economics and Politics

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As an economics and political science major, my take on scientific news and events will be more geared towards the implications of the discovery in terms of policy. Science in today’s world and global economy, especially here in the United States, is increasingly important to consider when making policy choices. The more we research, the more we strip away our ignorance of the impact past practices have had on the environment and on ourselves. Things like global warming, automobile emissions, dwindling oil reserves, improvements in the fields of genetics and alternative energies all make the number of factors to consider when making a choice exponentially larger. New questions arrive (such as the ethics behind stem cell research and cloning), and solutions are found to existing problems (such as new cures for diseases).

Thus, the importance of new breakthroughs in various fields of science is perhaps more important now than it ever has been, both to the average individual and to the policy maker in government. In light of the recent economic meltdown, concerns over foreign energy dependence, and the results of the election, one of the biggest elements of Obama’s economic plan involves creating jobs in the sector of renewable energy. It was one of the most hotly debated points over the course of the campaign (investment in renewable energy versus offshore drilling for oil). The main idea behind this plan is twofold – one, by investing in a more permanent solution to our energy problem, we will avoid having to invest in new energy sources later; by investing in offshore drilling, we just prolong the inevitable need to switch. Two, a large increase in industry size in the energy sector would produce those much needed domestic jobs to keep US citizens employed and strengthen the weakening economy. The important factor to consider here is if our renewable energy technologies are efficient and cost effective enough at this point to justify current investment. So far, the breakthroughs in the field of photovoltaic cells (the energy units used to gather solar energy) along with wind energy and tidal energy have been snowballing – further investment into both research and industry can only further such results. Some of the most notable, recent achievements: using butterfly wings to create highly efficient solar panels, and a new, simple, inexpensive way to store solar energy discovered by MIT last year . I will talk more about this in other postings.

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What needs to happen is mainstream adoption of alternative energy sources such as solar power, and other conservation methods such as composting and rainwater harvesting. Our consumer-driven society needs to put more importance on environmental stewardship and hopefully make being 'green' truly 'fashionable.' As an employee in the California solar industry, I can see the tides turning here, but this needs to be a nationwide effort. I'd really like to see the Obama administration put their full efforts behind their campaign promises.

We have to come to our senses and start facing the fact that green energy is not only the best but maybe our only option...

Investment and education are the answers.

Education is vital; we have to educate ourselves about energy conservation and ways to explore new renewable energy sources...

The need of investments, big investments in green energy industrialization and mass production, we, unfortunately are not doing so right now...

The world have to work together to get this done, sooner rather than later or we are going to be sorry

My husband built 20solar panels for our home, and the electricity bill went from $250 a month to about $22 a month, which is great. And at the same time we are doing our part helping the environment.

Everytime science discovers something new it changes economics which change politics as well. Any of the three, could effect the others if altered.

My 13 year old son and I built five solar panels last month. Altho I haven't seen my electric bill decrease yet, I was still a great father son project and I know that in time it will help the environment. I used the plans from that website link I posted above If I did it correctly.

Individuals must take responsibility for their energy consumption. If we continue to have everyone be consumers instead of home based producers of energy, the future is truly dark.

I believe that science has alot to do more than economics; therefore let's improve more on science for a better economic nation.

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