You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Scientific research should be carried out and controlled by private companies rather than governments. Do the advantages of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that some people believe that private enterprise should be responsible for conducting scientific research. While this may have some minor benefits in the short term, I would argue that this is outweighed by enormous disadvantages.
On the one hand, one advantage is that private companies sometimes respond more rapidly to demand than governments. People who invest money in these companies are greedy to make the most of any business opportunity. Thus, huge amounts of money become immediately available for these corporations to conduct research which might maximise profits. For example, the outbreak of an epidemic such as the corona virus,
presents a spectacular opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry. In the search for a cure, the first company to develop a vaccine stands to make a vast fortune, whether governments buy the vaccine or people have to buy it themselves.
On the other hand, there are significant benefits if governments determine the direction of scientific research for the well-being of their people. Firstly, they must provide funding for university departments to carry out research according to public need. Advances in technology and knowledge to achieve sustainable development would be used to benefit people, not investors. Thus, research into areas like preventive medicine or to alleviate environmental problems, although unprofitable, is essential. Secondly, as competition between companies is eliminated, the sharing of knowledge through international cooperation among the scientific community becomes the norm.
In conclusion, private companies sometimes carry out scientific research quickly, whereas governments up to now have been relatively slow to allocate resources to such research. However, the advantages of placing the responsibility for scientific research in government hands far outweigh any disadvantages.
Vocabulary from business and money:
to make the most of something: to make something appear as good as possible; to exploit something; to get as much out of something as is possible.
Example: They designed the advertisements to make the most of the product’s features.
maximise profits: to increase profits to the highest possible level
Example: The company has hired a marketing consultant to recommend how to maximise profits next year.
Vocabulary from health:
the outbreak of an epidemic: a large number of diseases occurring at the same time in a particular community
Example: A lack of government programs for vaccination and regular health care may lead to the outbreak of an epidemic, particularly in developing countries.
the pharmaceutical industry: an industry which makes drugs and medicines
Example: I believe that the pharmaceutical industry must be strictly regulated by governments, especially in the testing of new drugs.
to search for a cure: the process of looking for a way to make a sick person healthy again
Example: It is the responsibility of governments to enable doctors to search for a cure for diseases by providing adequate funding.
preventive medicine: practices of healthcare intended to try to stop illnesses
Example: An emphasis on preventive medicine will result in a healthier population and reduced costs for medical treatment.
Vocabulary from government:
to provide funding for: to give money to enable something to be done
Example: Providing funding for health care must be a priority of governments.
to allocate resources to: to make money and materials available to do something
Example: If governments allocate more resources to improving public transport, this will reduce the problem of traffic congestion in cities.
Vocabulary from technology:
advances in technology: the improvement or development in technology
Example: Recent advances in medical technology are making a great contribution to the search for a cure for Aids.
Vocabulary from the environment:
to achieve sustainable development: economic development that is achieved without depleting natural resources
Example: Organic methods must be introduced everywhere in order to achieve sustainable development in agriculture.
to alleviate environmental problems: to make bad environmental problems less severe
Example: Everyone can assist in the effort to alleviate environmental problems in the local community through simple actions such as recycling waste or planting a tree in their garden.
private enterprise [noun]: a privately owned business or industry that operates under the management and ownership of individuals, not the government.
Example: The government is planning to sell its national airline to private enterprise.
to stand to [expression]: to be in a situation that makes something likely to happen to you
Example: The President stands to gain from the accusations of corruption against his opponent in the election.
the norm [noun]: something that is usual, normal and expected
Example: Households with 2 or more cars are now the norm in some European countries.