Excerpt from "JOKER ONE: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood" by Donovan Campbell.:
Now for Jeremy's Soapbox:
We just don't get it. Why do we just accept cancer, heart disease and the other deadly afflictions? We just seem to seem to grin our teeth and bear it. People must not care, and here's why - because they only spend 0.2% of their wealth on finding ways to stop diseases. The US GDP is about $13tr and yet according to the OECD we spend only $26bn on health R&D i.e., 0.2%. Obviously we just don't care. Yet there are 1.5M new cancer cases per year in the US, and 500k cancer deaths. 1 in 4 of us will die of it, and a further 1 in 4 from heart disease. This absolutely dwarfs anything terrorism will ever do to us. If we make the effort research WILL stop these diseases. If people knew that themselves and their loved ones would be spared these diseases, wouldn't they want more than 0.2% of their income dedicated to it? Apparently not. Life is indeed cheap. We live for today, and don't care of tomorrow. Needed basic research is not funded, promising molecules are not synthesized and tested and clinical trials go unperformed.
As for energy research, improving and encouraging homegrown energy sources, while not eliminating international conflict, will surely lessen the pressure to go and fight foreign wars. Yet we pump trillions into stalemate conflicts while neglecting this simple way forward for both national and energy security. Again we fail to get it.
Science can cure cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and the other hellish diseases. Science can mitigate the need to fight foreign wars, increasing national security via energy independence with renewable energy. Curing dreaded diseases and achieving energy independence is possible. But it takes time and resources and the short-term nature of the financial world makes it difficult for industry to do the groundwork research needed.
Energy and health research and development should be a top priority over the next twenty years. We must make sure the world's brainiest kids go into science and receive the support and motivation they need to do their research.