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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing detail
A tour de force conducted at a gallop through human history. Amazing level of detail keeps the reader engaged at all times. Kealey is a scientist turned economist who debunks many of the "accepted" theories of economics with evident glee.
Recommended
Published 22 months ago by Prof David B

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it seems
I like reading about sex, have a passing interest in science, and who doesn't like to turn a profit now and then? So I thought this might be a book for me. Turned out to be a long tract against the public funding of scientific research and in praise of private and voluntary funding of R&D. It asserts the primacy of technology over 'pure' science, the victory of Adam...
Published on 16 Aug 2009 by John Williams


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it seems, 16 Aug 2009
By 
John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sex, Science And Profits (Paperback)
I like reading about sex, have a passing interest in science, and who doesn't like to turn a profit now and then? So I thought this might be a book for me. Turned out to be a long tract against the public funding of scientific research and in praise of private and voluntary funding of R&D. It asserts the primacy of technology over 'pure' science, the victory of Adam Smith over Francis Bacon. No sex then, but I read it through to the end anyway. The romp through the history of science (from prehistory to modern times), and the funding of science in particular, was entertaining enough. Other reviewers, no doubt more erudite than me, have said that Kealey's arguments are flawed, and that many of his facts are not in fact facts. I even spotted one or two mistakes myself, which does suggest that those other reviewers are right. Never mind; this was an interesting book. Am I wiser and better informed for having read it? Who knows? How many stars will I give it? Well, no-one else has given it three, so here goes...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing detail, 29 Aug 2012
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A tour de force conducted at a gallop through human history. Amazing level of detail keeps the reader engaged at all times. Kealey is a scientist turned economist who debunks many of the "accepted" theories of economics with evident glee.
Recommended
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with mistakes and flawed arguments but an interesting contribution to the debate, 18 April 2009
By 
Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sex, Science And Profits (Paperback)
This book builds upon the authors previous work looking at how science is funded. The author is the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University one of the very few private universities in the UK. So as you would expect given this position his argument is that science is better funded privately than by public funds.

His presentation is very biased and there are numerous mistakes in the text and in the facts and examples he uses. His worst mistake is confusing science with technology as applied science is something very different to the theory, but he is right in some cases that theory follows practice rather than the other way around as contended by governments. He is also right that funding academic science often gives poor results compared to industrial funding but that is the nature of academia which is much less focused especially towards short term goals.

So in the end I think he provides an interesting set of opinions and with more careful presentation of the facts and less emphasis on trying to sell the book (sex has nothing to do with it except for some very tangential and artificial points) then he might find more supporters for his argument.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into the mind of Terence Kealey, 22 July 2009
By 
Mr. M. W. Hilton (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sex, Science And Profits (Paperback)
As other reviewers have pointed out, this book has factual misrepresentations aplenty. There's also a key problem of logic at the heart of Kealey's text. He bases his book around a refutation of Bacon's view that technology grows from scientific research funded by government; problem is, he refutes it so hard that he falls into the same trap from the opposite direction - like Bacon, he takes an ideological view of how science is progressed without paying too much heed to real-world evidence that doesn't seem to fit his thesis.

I get the strong impression that Kealey is aware he is doing this, but he continues to push his argument because it's jolly good fun winding up his ideological enemies.

So definitely worth a read - just be ready to read around what Kealey is saying and check his facts. Don't take his assertions at face value. I get the feeling that this author would be slightly disappointed by readers who agreed with everything he says.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory reading for politicians and University management, 13 Nov 2008
By 
Jorge Oliveira (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book that argues magnificently the reality of the economics of scientific research. It does not argue for the beautiful visions of how research is going to improve the world, but for the facts that can be sustained by hard data. The findings may be surprising for some. The author provides a holistic interpretation of the observations from the realities of nature and of humans.

The book goes from the beginnings of scientific History, insofar as it is documented, to prove that the realities that underpin the evolution of science, of technology, of the economy and of the research in between, have actually remained pretty much the same. Time and again mankind has proved that (i) the public funding of research does not directly result in economic benefits, investment and jobs, (ii) the public funding of research does have many benefits that indirectly provide the environment for economic benefits, investment and jobs, but it does not drive them, (iii) advocates of the opposite that have vested interests in public research funding are very successful in persuading the public of their theory, specially politicians in a day and age when they feel somewhat intellectually inferior to said prestigious advocates.

It should be compulsory reading for politicians, specially in this day and age. Above all, it should be read by all senior executives in Universities. Some proposals are controversial (for instance, that humanity would be better off by scrapping the patent protection scheme), and it is unlikely that any reader will agree with every argument and every comment in the book, but the gist of it is indeed brilliant, and serious thought and discussions should be going on around University and Ministry of Science corridors out of the facts discussed in this book.

The author is a senior academic, and so am I, so I hope that it will be seen as quite refreshing that there still are people in Universities who prefer to read the data first, interpret the facts first, then take conclusions, instead of trying hard to make data fit theories, although they might be nice theories in themselves, and even though they might have a vested interest that said theories were true.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Perspective, 5 Nov 2009
A great antidote to the prevailing orthodox views of science, particularly as it is percieved in europe. This book provides clear evidence of the primacy of markets in driving scientific advancement throughout history. It also highlights some critical flaws in economic models when it comes to considering innovation and its impact on economic systems. the review of the history of science, politics and commerce and their interrelations makes for an entertaining read also. However, the most valuable part of the book for me was the proposal of a model for science as a set of invisible colleges. this model is an excellent reflection of the current business innovation climate and id very helpful in understanding how, why and to what effect knowledge is shared.

the tone is sometimes a little preachy, there is some repetition, and some of the asides are perhaps a little offensive; it is evidently written by an academic, with all of the tendancies to personal ownership of the truth that that can imply. But these are minor frustrations in what is otherwise a very interesting book that offers some interesting new perspectives on the worlds of science and business
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing and frustrating book, 28 Jan 2009
This review is from: Sex, Science And Profits (Paperback)
One starts this book thinking it will be a well researched and well argued historical analysis, but soon it becomes apparent the author is more interested in pushing his views that private enterprise is good and government action bad. That would be acceptable were it not for the fact that he skews the evidence, ignores or minimises those items that would undermine his cause and avoids difficult questions.

For example, the author praises the rise of the Dutch Republic in the 17th century as an example of the success of laissez faire policies, but the Dutch decline through the 18th century is dismissed as "they were invaded". True, but not till 1795, by which time the Dutch Republic was a shadow of its former self. As the Dutch had followed the same laissez faire policies through the 18th century decline, it would have been interesting to analyse why the results were so different during the second hundred years. No such luck though.

The credit crunch inevitably causes some of the assumptions the author is working with to be more critically examined, and that too undermines his approach

I would have welcomed a thorough analysis of science and markets, this book though isn't that.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertained and informed, 3 Mar 2009
By 
P. Scrivener (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sex, Science And Profits (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the history of scientific development, its paymasters both public, private and the financially disinterested amateur scientists who have contributed so much to human understanding. It is not an academic work, but an easily accessable polemic, about what motivates people to enhance or discover, and whether science is a 'public good' that should be sponsored by the state or whether the private charitable sectors provide funding and incentive to a much more productive degree. Most assuredly not a public good according to Kealey. One of his arguments being that most scientific development occurs within clearly defined peer groups, which can only be accessed by like minded professionals, and therefore that argument of public good on the basis of open access is spurious, because the vast majority of people can never acquire such knowledge.

His arguments about economic models, which he largely derides as intellectually limited and incapable of being applied in real business contexts could hardly be more pertinent.

I am no scientist but have a strong interest in public/social policy issues. This bracing book deserves a wide audience. It will though, certainly not appeal to public sector dogmatists. But given the self-righteous nature of so many within the public sector this is no bad thing.

Thoroughly recommended both as a a broad based public policy argument and for the general reader.
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Sex, Science And Profits
Sex, Science And Profits by Terence Kealey (Paperback - 1 Jan 2009)
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