A Billion Dollars

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D. mivie at MONTANA.EDU
Fri May 23 08:37:30 CDT 1997

Peter Rauch wrote:

> A billion dollars? That _is_ a lot, I suppose --not enough, but a fine
> start. How about $400,000,000?  Could that amount be spent wisely and
> fully in five years?
> Resolution of the bottleneck needs to start during this five years, and
> clearly if knowing _who_ the organisms are is indispensible for much of
> what ecologists and conservationists and economists must know in order to
> do their jobs well, then I would not whisper to anyone that systematics
> doesn't know how to spend one billion dollars well. That would be a global
> disservice of first order magnitude.
> Peter

Oh, we could easily spend it well, the whole billion -- on long-term
benefits that would be well worth the billion.  What I said is that in 5
years we wouldn't even start resolving the taxonomic bottleneck to the
extent needed in the short term.  My argument is that we must
participate in current work that has less than perfect taxonomy,
including using morphospecies and temporary taxonomy as stop-gap
measures.  My $$ point is that we cannot fix the taxonomy fast enough to
deal with the real-world needs for next year's decisions.  The result is
less-good decissions than we would make with perfect taxonomy, but that
is a vicious and non-productive circle.

That is no argument to deny us the 20 billion dollars we need over the
next 10 years (ramped up from say 40 million the first year) to make
sure that we don't have the same problem in 2050.

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.          |
Associate Professor and Curator |   Us   Them    Other
Department of Entomology        |    \     /      /
Montana State University        |     \   /      /
Bozeman, MT 59717-3020          |      \ /      /
USA                             |       \      /
                                |        \    /
Phone: (406) 994-4610           |         \  /
FAX:   (406) 994-6029           |          \/
e-mail: mivie at montana.edu       |  "We have more in common
                                |      than we think"


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